Title: We Must Sweep Out the Shadows
Fandom: The Mentalist
Characters/Pairings: Lisbon and Jane, leaning towards Lisbon/Jane
Rating: PG-13 for the case subject matter
Length: 1,000 words
Disclaimer: All belongs to Bruno Heller and CBS
Spoilers: Mostly just general show, and definitely nothing past 1.17 as I haven't seen further than that.
Summary: Jane isn't sleeping. Teresa's watching.
Jane can sleep anywhere. Teresa knows this. He doesn't always exercise this talent - the whole of the first case they worked together, he looked like the living dead. She gets the feeling some part of him believes that the amazing Patrick Jane should be beyond sleep. But generally, yeah, he can drop off anywhere.
It's just that his favourite spot is that one couch in CBI. It's a ridiculous place to sleep: in the middle of ringing phones and humming computers, with cases being wheeled in and out on whiteboards. But he's been doing it for so long now that no one even blinks to find him there, flat on his back and dead to the world.
He's not doing that today. Jane is lying on the couch staring at the ceiling while the rest of them re-examine theories they discarded days ago. It's two a.m. and Teresa has showered three times today, trying to wash away the picture of a tiny blonde-haired corpse. Six-year-old girl, their second dead child in a week, and there's another missing.
Jane had found the first body: his usual mix of luck and intuition. She had ordered him home but naturally he came back again. Twitchy and stranger than ever.
She looks over at the couch. He's fallen asleep finally and she allows herself the smile. They begin to talk more quietly.
Jane wakes in fits and starts soon after. "No."
"No. Let me- Please." He's half-awake and pleading. Trying to bargain for the dead girl and his daughter both and she-
She is crouching beside his chair (it's always his now) and saying, "Jane. Jane, wake up. You're having a- Jane! Patrick."
She shakes his shoulder and uses her best giving-orders voice that never works on him anyway. He's still lost.
Teresa shakes him again. "Jane. It's all right. Come on, baby, it's all right. You're here. It's just a dream, baby, ssh. It's all right."
Jane pulls himself up. "All right." He stands. "I need some tea, anyone else? No?"
He heads blearily to the break room and after a moment they hear the kettle start to boil.
Teresa can see Cho mouthing it at Rigsby, but it's Van Pelt who says the word. "Baby?"
"I needed to wake him up."
"I know that, boss, but baby?"
"It worked, didn't it?"
"I know, but-"
"Oh, shut up."
Van Pelt stops, but she is still smiling when they dive back into the case-files.
* * * *
Jane can sleep anywhere there's noise.
Teresa has sent the others home to sleep. They've got the little girl, safe back home with her mom and dad. But the guy who took her - who murdered two others - is still at large. He had panicked and ran, after some fool news crew leaked Jane's (accurate) theory.
But they're now on the homicide clock, not the kidnap clock. So the others have gone home to shower and change their clothes, and catch a few hours sleep. Jane had been gone for maybe forty-five minutes.
Now he's lying on their couch with his eyes closed.
Teresa walks over and looks at him. "I know you're faking."
He doesn't open his eyes when he speaks. "Is it the breathing rhythms? Because I've been working on that."
It's almost a little gratifying how quickly he jumps to his feet. "Field trip."
"Just a quick turn around the neighbourhood again."
"Can I drive?"
He sits beside her in the car, in the dark of the night. She opens the window a fraction to let the cool air inside. The radio plays some generic soft rock too quiet to be offensive. And she talks.
Nothing big. Not her childhood and all the things she doesn't tell him but he figures out. Just the small things. Movies she might like to see if they ever solve this case, and places she might like to go if she ever quits this job.
He talks back for a while, and then lapses into silence.
She drives around the neighbourhood again.
"I know what you're trying to do, you know." Jane doesn't open his eyes when he talks.
She doesn't shriek, but she'll admit, in the privacy of her own head, that she was startled. "And what's that?" she asks.
"It's very sweet, and endearingly well-meaning, but ultimately futile."
"Doctor take away your pills again?"
"He doesn't understand either."
"Why don't you sleep at home, Jane?"
Jane opens his eyes and meets her gaze in the rear-view mirror. "I'll sleep when he's dead." He closes his eyes again.
She drives them back to CBI.
* * * *
Jane can sleep anywhere except in his own bed, in his own home. He does leave, she knows that. It's just that she's less and less sure where he goes when they're done. What he does there.
Pizza boxes are open on the desks. Rigsby is blatantly displaying his minor injury to Van Pelt as though he nearly lost the leg. And Cho is talking to Jane.
"All I'm saying is, we could make some real money in the bounty hunter game."
"Where would be the fun in that?"
Cho is deadpan. "Bounty."
Jane shrugs, and leans back to horizontal on the couch. "Nah."
She was sitting on the arm of the couch before he moved. His head is now very close to her leg. Her hand twitches.
Jane blinks up at her. "Want to stroke my weary brow?"
"Call me baby again?"
"That's a pity." His eyes drift closed. His breathing steadies to its usual natural rhythm. His arms are folded across his chest.
The others start to quiet. Van Pelt asks, "Do you think we should go?"
"No," Teresa answers, "it's better when I can keep an eye on him. Before he decides to break the world insomnia record and lies to me again. Jane?"
No answer. She brushes her fingers against his shoulder; the touch is hidden by the arm of the chair.
He sleeps, and they talk. Teresa allows herself the smile.
The repose of sleep refreshes only the body. It rarely sets the soul at rest. The repose of the night does not belong to us. It is not the possession of our being. Sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms. In the morning we must sweep out the shadows. ~Gaston Bachelard