Part 4:


And their next case Didn't start off all that badly. Sure, Jane had slept through her briefing on the way to the crime scene, but that hardly meant anything. She'd just fill him in later. After she talked to the local authorities. "Shall I re-cap the case sleepy head?" she asked him indulgently.

But he surprised her by giving her a succinct summary of what they knew. "Kristen Marley, lady senator's aid. Rumoured romance with the senator's husband."

"Very good," she told him, mildly annoyed that her chance to gloat had been taken away from her.

"Well, I've trained myself to hear and take information while asleep," Jane tried by way of explanation.

But she wasn't falling for that. She'd been working with him for far too long, and had a pretty good idea of what he could and could not do. "The others told you."

He looked amused at her perception, "Yes they did."

Lisbon smiled back. At least they were friendlier now that they he wasn`t so frantic about Red John.

Of course he was still annoying. This time his target was (the admittedly somewhat insufferable) medical examiner sent to examine the body, who refused to speculate until he could get it back to the lab. But then of course Jane prodded the man into admitting that he didn`t believe in mind-reading.

But despite always claiming not to be psychic, apparently mind-reading was something Jane insisted pretty much anyone could do. And she was the lucky one who got to be his example. "Look at Lisbon, we can see what she's thinking."

"No kidding," she told him. After all, her facial expression couldn`t be that hard to interpret: I'd rather be anywhere but in the middle of this stupid, juvenile little competition between these two men. She was sure millions of females had had been having similar thoughts for millennia.

Of course it was some time before Jane let up on the M.E. He did finally explain that it was unlikely that the victim had jumped because only one shoe was found at the scene of the crime.

Useful conclusion, Lisbon just wished he wasn't so smug about it (and that it hadn't taken so long). "There's no need to be patronizing." she told him, though she knew it was pointless. Then, apologizing to the doctor for Jane's irritating behaviour she told Cho to call the crime in as a homicide.


Ah irritated Lisbon. A sight Jane had come to be familiar with over the years. She was obviously annoyed because he'd flat out told the senator and her husband that there was nothing going on between them sexually. Her annoyance amused him, although he was also somewhat incredulous that she bought the happy marriage crap in the first place. It had been completely obvious from the couple's demeanour that there wasn't a thing going on between them. Hell, he and Lisbon probably had more latent sexual chemistry...

Not that he'd been considering latent sexual chemistry with Lisbon. He was too busy trying to push her away, while simultaneously not pushing her away. Striking a balance in their relationship was hard enough without dealing with... that.

Jane was so engrossed in his female colleague and her reactions that he almost didn't notice when they were approached by her boss and a man who was clearly very important (at least in his own mind). Because he knew he was about as diplomatic as a fox in a henhouse Jane was content to hang back and let Lisbon and her boss deal with Mr. Extremely-Influential-Politician-Guy, who just happened to be their senator's father. Ah, Daddy was checking up on his little girl was he? Well, Jane couldn't blame him for that. But there was clearly something else going on. No way was that man offering to help them out of the goodness of his heart, if he even had one.

Jane watched as the older man left, confident that he'd made his point, whatever it had been. Probably that he was very important, but also very helpful. Minnelli and Lisbon were also watching him leave. But Minnelli wasn't quite as amused by the development as Jane was. No, the head of the CBI was too busy making sure Lisbon understood how important propriety and discretion is in the case. Apparently Mr. Extremely-Influential-etc. etc. was so extremely influential that when he asked the director of the CBI to go for a walk, even though good ol' Virgil hated walks he took one.

"Oh, how did the Batson interview go?" Virgil asked, once he had impressed on Lisbon the stakes.

Even though the question wasn't directed at him Jane decided to answer it. "Oh that was very exciting." Virgil'd love that.

"What did he do?" the other man asked Lisbon immediately.

"Nothing that can't be repaired," she assured him quickly.

Jane just grinned. It was good having a protector.

Although later, even he had to admit that his protector was being oddly agreeable. Even for a post-Hardy case. He'd barely suggested the possibility of a secret compartment in a jewellery box, and she'd just shrugged and sent Van Pelt to check it out. I mean, sure agreeable Lisbon was helping him get what he wanted, but it was still wrong somehow.

But he couldn't dwell on that too much. He was due for an altercation with Bosco. He needed to be in top form for that. Who knew what the other man'd say? And he certainly couldn't go to Lisbon about that. She wouldn't be pleased that he'd been trying to hack the other man's pass-codes, or any of his other plans for the man's office for that matter. Because as agreeable as she was being, Teresa Lisbon was still loyal to Sam Bosco. It was intriguing.


Ah, she loved it when the cases were fairly straightforward. Victim's step-brother is on bad terms with victim. Victim refuses to corroborate his alibi for an unrelated crime. Victim's missing shoe is found in step-brother's car. Step-brother has no alibi for her murder. Step-brother is arrested. It felt good. She felt almost relaxed. Which of course meant that Jane was almost certain to do something to ruin it. Ah yes, here he was now.

"Did you make the arrest?" Jane asked her.

"I did," she told him with a smile, trying to maintain her relaxed mood.

"Ah ha. Victory is yours."

"Yes it is." She rolled her eyes, but it was no use. "What?" she demanded.

"Oh, nothing," he told her quietly.

But she was having none of it. The one reason she tolerated him was because of his insight. (Well, and she was trying to let him become a valued member of her team. Just not when he was in this mood). He was damn well going to tell her if he knew something. "Come on."

"Nothing, no."

"I'm still waiting," she told him in a tone of voice that implied she wouldn't be going anywhere until he decided to break his case-related vow of silence.

Which Jane thankfully seemed to realize that and started talking. "Throwing the body of a bridge was a smart move. Good chance the coroner would declare it a suicide. Do you really think Harlan Macadoo could come up with that?" he asked.

Okay, so it was weird. But it wasn't exactly unheard of. "Dumb people can come up with smart ideas and smart people can come up with dumb ones."

"Eh. True. I'll have the real killer here in twelve hours or so," Jane told her.

If she strangled him now she was pretty sure she it'd be ruled a justifiable homicide. "What are you talking about?" She asked.

"You'll see. Bye." And with that he left. He left!

"Jane!" she called after him. But it was no use, he was already gone.

He moved so fast he made her feel dizzy. And the feeling had only gotten worse in the last few days. Lisbon sighed. She supposed she could wait until the morning to hand Macadoo over to the D.A.'s office.


Of course her boss didn't agree. She told Minnelli that she hadn't sent the victim's step-brother down to be arraigned yet because the team was still tying up loose ends. Minnelli was (possibly justifiably) worried the delay had everything to do with Jane. She denied it immediately, but her boss was unconvinced.

"I want this off my desk." Minelli exclaimed. "Get Macadoo to the D.A. tonight."

But Jane had interrupted, wondering if the senator's father was really the one exerting the pressure and pushing for a speedy resolution to the case. Denials all around, but no one believed them.

Lisbon decided she was tired of their little aside and interrupted, "Is this my case sir?" she asked.

"Yes, but..."

"Then it's my decision as to when the suspect is handed over to the district attorney right?" she double-checked.

"Macadoo isn't in the DA's office first thing tomorrow morning this becomes a different conversation," was all her boss said before he walked away. She really hoped Jane had something. His hunches may be accurate, but his methods often left something to be desired, and this one was a bit of a doozy.

"You won't regret this," Jane told her.

"I already do," Lisbon told him with a half-smile.

After all, the plan hinged on the fact that all of their offices were bugged. On Jane planting a fake note in her desk. On Jane hiding out in her office while she waited next door to make the arrest. A million and one things could go wrong. It was insane. She should really be putting a stop to this.

But then, look at what had happened the last time she'd gone back on one of their plans... it certainly hadn't been an unqualified success. And she had decided to start trusting Jane more... This was after all an ideal time to put that in practice.

As it turned out, the execution was still less than ideal. They did manage to lure the spy into her office, but he'd managed to overpower Jane, and forced her to hand-cuff herself to her own door. Then in the course of his escape he managed to get into a fatal car accident. Well that was just great.

Minnelli was going to kill her. She was about ready to shoot someone (if not Jane, possibly herself) when Jane told her quietly that he had an idea. Lisbon put her head in her hands. Well, it certainly couldn't get much worse...


Well you didn't need to have his abilities to see that Minnelli wasn't pleased with Lisbon. Probably him too, but he didn't so much care about that. "You abused a corpse to get a confession," the other man was saying to her.

Jane felt the need to jump in there. To clarify. "Used. Used a corpse, there's no ab." And they hadn't. They'd merely propped up a corpse in the interrogation room to make it look like he'd talked to them, thus eliciting a confession from the senator for murder. Their little spy had been planted in the CBI by her extremely important father to make sure that Lisbon and her team didn't actually figure out who the real killer was. Really they'd just sat the body down on a chair and filmed it. It's not like they'd gone at the thing with baseball bats or anything. He felt it was an important distinction.

Minnelli didn't see it that way of course, "I'm appalled. I don't know what to say," he told Lisbon as he shook his head. Jane figured any second now the steam'd start coming out of his ears.

But if Lisbon was concerned she certainly didn't show it. "Sir, it's not like we killed him. His neck was broken in the crash," she pointed out.

"We got a confession," Jane added, hoping to pacify the other man a little.

But Virgil was not at all pacified. "Suppose you didn't? Suppose you'd been wrong?" he asked Jane. Jane fought the urge to shrug. He hadn't really considered that possibility. He'd been pretty sure his plan would work. "Have you any idea of the vastness of the crapstorm that would follow?" Minnelli continued. Jane was forced to admit to himself that it would've been pretty bad. Especially for her. But she didn't seem to mind. In fact she looked annoyed... Okay, what was going on with the good Agent Lisbon? Even her guilt couldn't be that all-encompassing could it? If so he might need to tone things down a bit (but why? You're getting what you wanted case-wise aren't you? And I thought you weren't supposed to care about her...) "It would blot out the sun," Minnelli finished seriously.

Again, Lisbon stepped up for him (Again. He was losing count now, for this case alone.). "Sir, Crewe and Batson manipulated us into arresting the wrong person. They bugged our offices and subverted our case. I don't think we did anything wrong. I think we should be commended." Well if Jane'd been surprised before, he was absolutely dumbfounded now. Commended? Teresa Lisbon thought his, Patrick Jane's, methods should be commended? Had someone put something in her M&M supply or something?

It seemed Virgil was equally concerned, and Jane couldn't say that he blamed him. The head of the CBI turned to the mentalist and gave him a sad smile, "Congratulations, you finally got her to drink the Kool-Aid." But Jane wasn't triumphant, couldn't even bring himself to meet the director's eyes. Had he really managed to corrupt her that much? It was a worrying thought. She was supposed to be his protector, his tenuous link to reality. Without her...

Minnelli called him back to the present with a parting warning, "Check yourself Agent. ALL of you." And Jane couldn't help but feel the warning needed to be heeded. (Not that he'd heed it... but surely it wasn't too late for her to... surely...)

"Well I thought that went pretty well," was all he said.

"Great, yeah." Lisbon told him sarcastically.

Jane kept going, he needed to keep the tone light, and figure out later what he wanted to do. "Highlight for me was definitely your speech. Passionate, articulate, strong."

Lisbon just glanced at him, "Whatever," was all she said before walking away.

Jane watched her go, unease settling in the pit of his stomach. Sure, relaxed, non-rule obsessed Lisbon was certainly more fun. And he liked her more when she was smiling at him than when she was scowling (though annoyance could be fun too). But... but... they weren't supposed to be getting closer. His insanity was supposed to push her away. And it... it wasn't working. Damn woman wouldn't be pushed away. For some reason she was sticking by him when all logic dictated that she should just throw him to the wolves.

And while hearing her rise to her defence had certainly resulted in well, feelings of... of... almost warmth (that under any other circumstances he would have almost welcomed). As things stood... He corrupted people. And he tainted them. He couldn't taint her. Not any more.

As he watched her back as she walked away Jane had to admit that he was worried. (But you aren't supposed to be worried are you? She's not supposed to mean anything is she? She's just a means to an end after all. Why would you be worried about your increased ability to manipulate her?)

Enough. He'd been obsessing about Teresa Lisbon for far too long. Time to go back to focusing on Red John again. After all, he had an office to bug.

He was really worried about her though. Damn it all to hell.

What was he going to do about it?


She'd just stood in the middle of the bullpen and told her boss in no uncertain terms that her team should be commended. That there was not a thing wrong with any of Jane's methods. Minnelli had been equal parts unimpressed, angry and concerned. She couldn't blame him.

Everyone seemed to think that Jane had finally corrupted her.

But was it really corruption? They kept him around after all; he had to be good for something. And he had helped close the case...

So he'd talked her into propping up a corpse in an interrogation room and using it... Oh god. She'd used a corpse, a corpse of a human being, to trick someone into confessing. And the worst part about it was, she didn't even remember him having to try that hard to convince her it was a good idea. Since their only witness had been dead after all, they'd needed a confession. She'd just gone along with Jane's plan...

It was kind of terrifying now that she thought about it.

But what was she supposed to do after she'd done it? Tell her boss that she'd had a lapse in judgement? Yeah, that'd be a great idea, give him even more reason to be concerned. And that'd look great, like she was in total control. She refused to give anyone the impression otherwise. She'd worked to damn hard to get where she was.

She and Jane were just adjusting still. It'd work out... So maybe just deciding to give him more leeway hadn't been a great idea. She needed to come up with some rules. Boundaries. Like when she was going to support him and where she was going to draw the line. Because she couldn't go on like this forever.

So she had to make a decision. Would she support him? Was her role just to allow Jane the freedom to close cases? Was she enabling him? Was their solve rate enough? She wanted them to become a cohesive team, but Jane, well, she wasn't sure that Jane actually wanted that. Sometimes maybe, but most of the time... well... he was too caught up in his little games to think about the rest of them. He seemed content to whirl around and let them be his safety net. And Lisbon couldn't let him drop. He'd been there for her when she'd needed him. It was her turn to return the favour (Besides, she might be a bit, a very little bit, fond of the man... God that grin...). She'd just have to come up with the rules as they went along.

After all, nothing too disastrous had happened. Yet.

And while she should probably draw the line at corpses, it did feel kind of liberating not to play things so straight all the time...

Lisbon sighed and went back to her paperwork, resisting the urge to put her head in her hands and wonder when everything had gotten so complicated, so out of control.


In his office Virgil Minnelli didn't even try to go back to work. He stood at his window and tried not to worry. Had it been a mistake to bring Jane in all those years ago? It was plain that he'd insinuated his way into Agent Lisbon's affections, at least to a certain degree. He should have known that though she was competent she was also prone to a guilty conscience. The woman had been raised Catholic after all... And after that scene in the bullpen... What was going on with Special Agent Lisbon? Or were things simply still in the middle of a readjustment period? Could things have taken this long to shake out? He'd hoped that taking the team off of the Red John case would help things along. And it had to a certain extent. Maybe they all just needed more time.

He just prayed that he didn't end up watching Jane destroy one of his more promising (and if he was honest, one of his favourite) agents. He didn't think he'd be able to stomach that.

Well, he thought philosophically as he sat down at his desk. No use worrying about things that might happen.

And who knows, maybe she'd finally be able to knock some sense into the man.

It was possible, wasn't it?

Only time would tell.


The End