My first foray into The Mentalist fic... a missing scene tag fic to episode 1x16 - Bloodshot. Lovely whump in this ep and I couldn't resist the temptation to fill in some of the blanks. :)
All feedback and concrit welcomed.
Absorbed in her paperwork, Lisbon was startled by the sudden yell from across the hall.
"Rigsby! Cho! I need some help in here!"
Already on her feet, the unaccustomed note of panic in Van Pelt's voice had Lisbon breaking into a run. She dashed across the hallway to the main office, stumbling to a halt at the sight of Jane lying sprawled on the floor, Van Pelt crouched beside him, her hands on his shoulders.
"What the..?" Rigsby came running in from the break area, his mouth open in surprise, and even the usually inscrutable Cho, appearing behind him, looked shocked.
"He just collapsed!" Van Pelt looked up at them, her eyes wide. "One minute he was standing there, saying he was fine, and the next..."
"Cho, call the paramedics." Taking charge, Lisbon dropped to her knees beside Van Pelt, slipping a hand inside Jane's shirt collar to feel for a pulse. The skin of his neck was warm to the touch, his pulse strong and regular. She breathed a quick sigh of relief.
She was vaguely aware of Cho talking on the phone as she quickly checked Jane over. He was unconscious, his eyes closed, his head lolling to one side. His body was loose and relaxed, the white stick resting across his bent legs, his hand still loosely curled around the handle.
"Let's get him off the floor. Rigsby, can you give us a hand here?"
Jane didn't stir as they carefully lifted him, Rigsby bearing most of the weight, and laid him down on the nearby sofa, doing their best to arrange limp arms and legs as comfortably as possible.
Cho joined them as them stepped back. "They're on their way," he said, simply. Lisbon nodded, not taking her eyes off Jane. Lying there on the sofa, his eyes closed, he looked as though he were simply asleep... a not uncommon sight in the office.
"Van Pelt." She turned to the newest member of the team. "What happened?"
"I don't know!" Van Pelt was flustered, her eyes filled with worry. "He was sitting on the sofa, kinda staring into space..." She broke off with a grimace.
"Well," she corrected herself, "you know what I mean. Like he was lost in thought. I asked him if he was okay and it was like he didn't hear me at first. Then he said he was fine and he got up and took a couple of steps and then just..." She waved her hands helplessly. "He just went down. No warning."
Lisbon grimaced. "Dammit," she cursed in frustration. "He's been working himself too hard. I should have known something like this would happen. He should be in the hospital not running around working cases."
She looked at her watch. What was taking the paramedics so long? She bent over to lay a hand against Jane's forehead... warm but not feverish. He didn't react to her touch. She sighed and checked her watch once more.
It took the paramedics just 5 minutes to arrive. It felt more like an hour.
Jane was still unconscious, stretched out on the sofa, his sightless (temporarily sightless, she reminded herself) eyes closed, as the uniformed medic hustled into the room, setting a bulky case on the floor and crouching to examine his patient. Lisbon found herself giving a run-down of Jane's recent injuries as the medic methodically checked pulse, blood pressure, pupil reactions.
"Uh, he got a little too close to an explosion," she explained. "Doctors said he had a concussion with some short-term memory loss, disorientation, headaches and temporary blindness caused by, uhh..." she searched her memory for the correct term, "...a CVI? Something to do with floating blood clots?"
The medic nodded so she guessed he understood her less than precise description. "And what was Mr..." he consulted his notes, "Mr Jane doing prior to his collapse?" he asked.
"Nothing," Van Pelt offered. "He was... he was sitting on the sofa and we were talking. He was kinda quiet for a while... and when I asked him if he was okay, he said he was fine and he got up to leave and..." She tailed off with a helpless gesture.
"And he's been unconscious ever since?"
Van Pelt nodded.
"Okay." The medic didn't seem too worried. "It could be related to his concussion. From what you've described, I'm surprised he wasn't kept in hospital..."
"They tried," Lisbon admitted, a little guiltily. "He discharged himself. Insisted he was better off working."
A low groan brought the conversation to an end as everyone hurriedly converged on the couch.
"Are you alright?"
"Hey, man. You okay?"
"Okay, folks. Give him some room." The medic held up a hand and they reluctantly stepped back as Jane's eyes blinked sluggishly open.
"Mr Jane? Sir?" The medic waved a hand in front of Jane's face. Nothing. Not even a blink.
Jane frowned. "What happened?" he murmured, a little woozily.
"You collapsed in the middle of the office," Lisbon informed him, not without a certain hint of "I told you so".
"Oh." Predictably, Jane didn't seem too surprised, or perturbed, by this news. "And I landed on the couch?"
Lisbon couldn't help the smile that twitched at her lips, glad at least that Jane couldn't see it. Blind, concussed and recovering from an unexplained blackout and the man was still uncannily aware of his surroundings.
"You wish," she countered. "Rigsby picked you up off of the floor."
Jane smiled. "My hero." Rigsby pulled a face.
"I saw that."
Sometimes, it was like working with kindergartners.
"Sir, please." Jane was trying to sit up, the medic holding him down with a firm hand on his chest.
"Oh. Hello." Jane waved a questing hand in the medic's general direction, finding an arm and running his hand up until he found the short sleeve and the insignia stitched to it. "Paramedic?" he asked.
"Yes, sir. I need you to lie down for me, sir, and let me finish checking you over."
"I feel fine," Jane protested.
"Jane..." Sometimes Lisbon hated the exasperated whining quality that seemed to creep into her voice when dealing with an obstinate Jane. "You passed out on the office floor! Will you at least let the nice man do his job and make sure you're ok?!"
"I'm fine," he insisted, but he did at least stop resisting the paramedic, lying back on the couch with an exaggerated sigh.
"Did you hit your head when you fell, Mr Jane?"
Jane frowned. "I don't know," he admitted. "I don't remember falling."
Lisbon bit her lip.
"What is the last thing you do remember, sir?"
Jane looked thoughtful for a moment. "Van Pelt," he said. "We were talking. I got up from the couch...." He frowned. "Dizzy," he murmured. "I felt dizzy."
"And had you felt dizzy before this?"
"No, not really. Just a little bit."
Lisbon rolled her eyes helplessly.
"And how do you feel now?"
"Any dizziness? Headache?"
"No. I feel fine." Jane smiled reassuringly.
"Okay. Let's sit you up..."
Moving slowly, at the paramedic's insistence, Jane swung his legs down off the couch and sat up.
"Still no dizziness?"
"Well, your pulse and blood pressure are fine. Everything looks normal..."
"Other than being blind," Jane commented lightly.
The medic waved a hand in front of Jane's face. "Can you see anything at all?"
Jane shook his head. "Not a thing."
"And what did your doctor say about the blindness?"
"She said it would last maybe 48 to 72 hours," Lisbon interrupted. "It's been less than 40."
The medic nodded. "Well, I would advise that in the meantime you take it easy, Mr Jane. And see your doctor if you have any further dizziness or disorientation..."
"But what made him collapse?" Lisbon demanded. "And how do you know it won't happen again?"
"It was probably down to the concussion," the medic explained. "It can cause dizziness and disorientation. It can be exacerbated by exhaustion, emotional stress. Eye strain doesn't help either..."
"How can he have eye strain?" Cho demanded. "He can't see."
"If your eyes are open, even in the dark, they will be working, trying to see. It's instinctive. The more he tries to see, the more strain it puts on his eyes. He should really have his eyes bandaged until his sight returns..."
"He did have bandages," Lisbon admitted, rather pointedly. "He took them off!"
"How could I know if I could see or not if my eyes were taped shut?" Jane protested. "And besides, the bandages itched."
The medic dug in his bag, pulling out gauze and tape. "I'm afraid you're going to have to live with the itching, sir," he smiled. "I'm going to ask you to leave the bandages on this time, until your doctor tells you it's okay to remove them."
Jane gave a put-upon sigh but dutifully closed his eyes and sat still as the medic gently laid a circle of bandage over one eye.
She wasn't surprised to see Virgil; news travelled fast within the insular world of CBI and it wasn't every day that their semi-celebrity consultant collapsed in the middle of the office.
"Sir," she acknowledged.
Hands in pockets, Virgil Minelli was the picture of calm confidence but she knew him well enough to see the concern behind the facade.
"Is he alright?" he asked mildly, watching the medic press the last piece of tape into place.
Jane answered before she could, anticipating her response and neatly forestalling it. "Oh, I'm a hundred percent alright. No need to send me back."
She said it anyway. "Sir, he needs to be in the hospital. He has to go if you order him to."
Virgil considered briefly. "I could," he agreed, "but someone did try to kill him, remember? We can protect him better here. At less expense!" He raised his voice a little, making it clear that last comment was for Jane's benefit.
"Thanks, Virgil," Jane deadpanned in return.
"Okay. But this is a favour. If you die in this department, I'm responsible. I do all the paperwork!" Virgil's tone was light-hearted but Lisbon knew the sentiment behind the sarcasm was real enough. He turned to her, adding straight-faced, "In fact, if he does die, for whatever reason, move him to a public area, would you? I'd be very grateful."
"I hope he's smiling," Jane commented, sliding his dark glasses on over his bandaged eyes.
Having said his piece, Virgil left them to it, with a cheerful, "Places to be!"
"Don't we all?" Jane murmured. He sat forward, his arm catching on the cane the paramedic had left beside him, knocking it to the floor. He fumbled for it for a moment, before asking, "Uh... little help here?"
For a long moment, Lisbon didn't move. As much as she admired, and even liked, Jane, at times he infuriated her. He should be in the hospital. He knew it. She knew it. And they both knew the stubborn SOB was gonna stay right here, working, no matter what she said.
With a roll of her eyes, she moved to help him up from the sofa.
"Just the stick," he insisted. "Just the stick."
Stubborn, proud, bloody-minded... She handed him the stick with a tight smile and, ignoring his thanks, headed back to her office.
The sooner they solved this thing, the better.