It's been a while between drinks, but I've finally gotten started on a new story. Have a read and see what you think.

Rating: T for safety.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Mentalist, or any characters, organizations etc associated with it. Any other references you recognise are not mine either.

Pairing: Not supposed to be a romantic fic, but knowing me it'll turn into one anyway. Jisbon of course.

At first glance, there was nothing remarkable about the piece of paper taped to the door of Patrick Jane's rarely used Malibu beach house. Standard office size and thickness, the typing on it was a widespread, generic font found in reports and word-processed documents the world over. Nothing about it gave the impression of it having anything special to offer.

But when Jane saw it he experienced a similar shudder of fear to one he had felt years ago. For nobody but he could truly appreciate the potential horrors that lay in store on the seemingly innocuous paper.

That it had been left for him here, in Malibu, was telling enough. He visited this house only sporadically and very few people knew he still kept it. He had all his mail redirected to his tiny studio apartment in Sacramento, which he hardly ever stayed in either, instead choosing to while away his sleepless nights at the CBI.

He could think of only one person who might leave a message for him in this fashion, the one criminal he and the team were still chasing, the most important case that had yet to be solved.

Red John.

He approached the door with trepidation.

Mr Jane.

It has been some time since we have spoken. An oversight on both of our parts I'm sure, as we are both very busy.

I trust that after the unfortunate circumstances that befell Agent Samuel Bosco and his team, that my case file has found it's way back to you. I very much look forward to the day we meet in person, which brings me to the reason for this correspondence.

My sources inform me that you are very rarely out of the company of one Agent Teresa Lisbon. I have not yet had the pleasure of making her acquaintance but from what I have been told, she may pose a slight problem if she is present when you and I eventually meet.

To this end, I have come up with two solutions, the first being me taking her life. I very much do not want to have to do this as I feel it would be tragic to take another person of importance from you.

From the brief glimpses I have had, I find that your Agent Lisbon is very beautiful. You always did have a soft spot for brunettes, yes? It would be a cruel fate indeed for one so lovely, a truly barbarous act, why is why I may be persuaded to take a different course.

See to it that Agent Lisbon is thrown out of the CBI, discredited and disgraced, with no chance of return. If you are successful, I shall spare her life. You have a month to achieve this, beginning from today, May 3rd.

Until we speak again, old friend.

Jane's heart was pounding as he finished reading the note. So Lisbon now had a target on her back. He supposed he should have expected this to happen sooner or later; Lisbon was the lead agent on the case, it made sense that Red John would want her out of the way.

What threw him the most was that he had been given an opportunity to save her, but at what cost? He knew how important her work was to her, knew that the halls of the CBI were only place she could feel comfortable and in control.

In essence, to save her life he would have to rip away her reason for living. It was not undoable. Hightower had made it clear that Lisbon was squarely in the line of fire, her career dependant on his behaviour.

After all, it was better her alive and hating his guts rather then murdered by Red John. He wouldn't wish that on his worst enemy, let alone the woman who been his greatest (and sometimes only) ally in the CBI. The one who had refused to give up on him, no matter how far he had pushed her, the one who against her better judgement, was always willing to give him one more chance, the one who epitomized something that he had lost long ago: Faith.

And Red John had given him the power to keep her safe. In theory, it should have been a no-brainer. A simple trade-off, her job for her life.

But this was Lisbon. Her job was her life. The two were so closely intertwined that to end one was to practically end the other as well. It would strip her of everything she stood for, everything she fought so hard to protect. It would take away a piece of her soul, and she'd never get it back.

No. He couldn't do that to her.

But he couldn't allow her to fall victim to Red John either. He had to find some other way.

Even as he thought it, he wanted to laugh out loud at his own foolishness. With Red John, there were no alternatives.

He crumpled up the sheet of paper in frustration. Once again, Red John had identified a chink in Jane's carefully constructed armour, and it was only a matter of time before he pounced on it. Jane himself hadn't been entirely sure how he felt about her, but Red John had known, just as he had known exactly how to use that knowledge against him.

He had barely survived the loss of his wife and daughter. He dreaded to think about what would happen if Lisbon were taken from him too. At present, she was the only thing anchoring him to any kind of reality, the person that reminded him that he was in fact capable of feeling other emotions aside from vengeful anger. She had reawakened something inside of him that he had believed to be long since dead, made him laugh, and essentially given him a second chance at life.

Sure, she thought he was wasting it with his revenge plan, but without her, he doubted that he would've even considered the possible consequences of his actions, and just how much he stood to lose if he proceeded with his plan.

She had given him so much, more than she could ever possibly know.

He let himself into the house, trudged up the stairs, and collapsed on the mattress underneath the sinister smiley face. Some nights he would lie there for hours and study every curve, every stroke and the exact hue of each bloodstain, but tonight he couldn't bring himself to look at it. He was too busy thinking.

Either way he looked at it, he would have to sacrifice her from his life. If he allowed Red John to carry out his plan, he would lose her. If he didn't, and he got her fired, she'd never want anything to do with him again. He'd lose her anyway.

It was the very cruellest of choices.

Over in Sacramento, the object of Jane's thoughts was just arriving home from a long day at the office. She took a long hot shower, letting the water soothe her aching muscles.

Today had been another tough day. She had once again been forced to crash-tackle a suspect as he tried to escape them, and now she was paying the price. Everything hurt, and to top it all off, her head was throbbing like someone had smashed it repeatedly with a sledgehammer.

She changed into sweats and microwaved a frozen meal that she found half-hidden at the back of the freezer, covered in ice crystals. When it was cooked, it looked so unappetizing that she could only manage to choke down two forkfuls of the stuff before throwing it away. She considered ordering something in but decided against it. She could eat when she got to the office tomorrow. Jane always brought in doughnuts on Wednesdays and made sure to save her the cream-filled ones that she liked the best.

In the end, she found herself on the couch watching the ten o clock news. She sat up slightly when a piece came on about a case they had worked a few months back, which had been tried in court yesterday. The camera panned around the courtroom and she saw Cho, who had actually arrested the man in question. Next to him, Jane lounged in his seat; hands behind his head and gazing dreamily up at the ceiling.

She chuckled to herself as she took in the astonished expression of the woman across the aisle as Jane stood up and began firing questions at the judge. Almost instantaneously, a hand she recognized to be Cho's reached up, grabbed his sleeve and yanked him back down into his seat.

Luckily, Jane's idiocy had not cost them the case and the bastard had been convicted on all charges.

Lisbon switched off the television just as they turned to finance news and walked into her bedroom. She got into bed and reached for the novel she was reading.

Her cell phone rang, shattering the peaceful silence and she grabbed for it, managing to answer it on the second ring.


"Hi Lisbon, it's me."

"Jane? Why are you calling me so late? I know you're not a big fan of sleep but I wouldn't mind getting some."

"Can't a friend call and wish another friend goodnight without being accused of having some ulterior motive?"

"Not when it's you."

"I just thought you might be a little lonely in that apartment all alone with nothing but the television and that dog-eared copy of Pride and Prejudice to distract you."

"How did you know I was reading Pride and Prejudice?" she demanded. "Are you casing out my house or something?"

He laughed. "Don't be silly my dear. I just know it's your kind of book."

"Oh really?"

"Yes. You like to think of yourself as the intelligent and vivacious Elizabeth Bennet, eventually winning the heart of the aloof but ultimately charming Mr Darcy, aka me."

"Wrong. I always saw you more as Mr Collins, irritating and constantly sticking his nose in where it doesn't belong," she shot back, frostily. This was a downright lie. This was the first time she had read the book since she had begun working with Jane and to her horror, she had indeed subconsciously cast herself and her consultant as the legendary lovers, but he didn't need to know about that.

For heaven's sake, she couldn't get rid of him in her real world so she couldn't understand why she would possibly want him in her fantasy world too.

"Then who may I ask is your Mr Darcy?" asked Jane curiously.

"Jane, I am rapidly losing my patience with you. If you don't say something useful in the next five seconds, I am hanging up this phone. Fiveā€¦"





"Don't you think you're being-"


"-A little bit-"



She snapped the phone shut, resisting the temptation to hurl it across the room. Really, the man could not be any more annoying if he tried. She snatched the book up, hoping to distract herself.

Of course, when she opened it to the marked page her eyes were immediately drawn to the phrase, "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." That was all her overactive imagination needed to whisk her into her Victorian-esque dream world.

Though she found that she couldn't feel too guilty. She supposed that she would be back to the reality of murder and mayhem soon enough. She should enjoy the reprieve while it lasted.


Despite the seriousness of his situation, Jane couldn't help but grin as the line went dead. Nothing in the world could have made him feel better right now, then hearing her voice. There was something strangely comforting about bickering with her that way when the rest of his life was imploding on itself. It made him remember that there was still normalcy in his life, at least for now.

And suddenly, in one shining moment of clarity, he made his decision.

There could not be a world without Teresa Lisbon in it. Someone should have the chance to cherish her as much as he did. He knew she deserved that, even though it killed him to think of her with someone else.

Once he went through with it, he knew that they'd be through. He would have committed the ultimate betrayal, and he doubted that she'd even be able to look at him anymore.

But Teresa Lisbon was the one light in his life and he was not about to let Red John extinguish it.

Not this time.

So that's the first chapter. Please let me know if you'd like to read more. This is the only time I will ask for reviews, I promise. Even if just one person wants me to continue, then I will. Drop me a line with that handy-dandy review button just below.