Title - Redress
Author - Kourion
Summary: Sometimes the most innocuous events can signal brutal happenings. Such as a telephone ringing once in the night, and then abruptly stopping. Warnings: for violence and sensitive subject matter.
A/N: First off, I am brand new to The Mentalist fandom. Need I say it again? :) Of course, with this admission comes a bit of a potential apology, because I'm going off relatively few episodes of the show. If any of the characters are OOC, well, I really do apologize. I know how annoying that can be - truly. And of course, please keep in mind this is angst, and if I decide to go beyond a one shot and flesh it out a bit more, Jane and Lisbon (in particular) will probably be sounding more and more like themselves as time goes on. But do you know what helps a fledgling fangirl write better fanfic? Do you? Reviews! Reviews are love.
And secondly - this story contains some pretty sensitive subject matter. Mostly for the inherent violence associated with rape, along with discussions pertaining to some pretty disturbing coping mechanisms, and alcoholism as well. Nothing described in extreme detail, but definite discourse on these subjects throughout. Right now it's rated T, given no explicit references, but I still thought a warning was in order.
Additionally, this story will be told from Jane's POV throughout. It's largely Jane/ Lisbon friendship oriented, but Jisbon if you squint.
"The ax forgets, the tree remembers."
Maya Angelou, Even the Stars Look Lonesome, 1997
I have this unbelievable hatred of hospitals. I've always hated them. I mean, ever since I was a kid. Just a little kid. The scent of sickness, death. You just knew you'd get ill in one of these places, or someone you loved would die in one.
I know it sounds insane to put it like that, because a hospital is a place where you take the ill, the sick, the dying. To heal them. To save them. But I've always had this fear of hospitals all the same.
And I'm always trying to look out, and see it - that fear. On others, coming from others. On their faces, or to hear it - in their words, vocalized, or the words of their body. The sentences conveyed by the posturing of hands, the stance held, the sway of movement through the spine, or the rigidity of a fixed expression.
That rigid fixed look. Like setting concrete. That's a sign as good as any that you've hit on either some sort of devastating truth or some sort of fear. The fear itself is harder to map out though, harder to flesh out. It's harder to learn the language of fear, individualized.
I feel warmth then, hands that lack the fiest I'm used to and have grown to appreciate...
"Can I get you a coffee, Jane? Tea...something?," and her large eyes search mine with such focused intensity, I'm reminded of a fawn. Innocent. New. Fresh.
And I wonder how Van Pelt`s eyes can look quite that innocent, quite that new to me, after what we've just heard. What she's heard earlier this morning.
'Moderate concussion - slight bleeding in the brain. She's awake, yes, but highly - disoriented, Mr. Jane...and for the next few hours I'm holding off on visitors...'
Shepherding me to the closest waiting room chair - a red plastic monster in sparkly 50's ugliness just mocking everything further - Van Pelt gently motions for me to sit.
"We don't know how much longer until we can...until they let us see her," and her voice drops almost in apology, "and you're wrecked..."
It's only been three hours since the call from the hospital. And only two since they muttered anything at all about what happened...
"I'm not wrecked," but even as I say the words, I know they are lies.
'No. Not even for flowers, sir. We aren't finished with all the exams, and we don't want to ups-...'
The truth is...out of everyone here, I might be the only one aside from the doctors who knows that Teresa's not just suffering from a concussion. And maybe because of this, I know that I have to be the first one to see her.
"You look gray, Jane. Don't tell me that's just sleep deprivation."
I hold up my hands in a 'oh, ya got me!' sort of swoop, and then rub at my eyes, willing some of the aching coldness to depart from my center, from my heart before I pick up a battered white Bible from the magazine table. Some little kid has crayoned a green dinosaur over the Holy part, and scrawled ROAR in purple marker. I am now holding the one and only true Roar Dinosaur Bible. Yeeeah - some poor kid is going to hell for sure.
I open up the cover, and search for more doodles, but apparently the kid lost his spark, his muse - because all that reads on the next page is the oversized messy scrawl stating: "thnks a lot ande com agayn!"
*You have reached Teresa Lisbon at 477-2829. Please leave a brief message with your name, and telephone number and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks a lot.*
Van Pelt's just looking at me as if I'm stripped naked or something equally inappropriate.
"Sorry?" And she goes to say something else, that look of concern too strong and out of place for someone who has just lost themselves in thought. Rigsby, too, waves us over from his place at the ER check-in desk, where a portly doctor in green scrubs and a white coat is looking on, impatiently.
"Sorry," I reiterate, feeling a little lost.
I approach softly, almost as if anything heavier is going to change what I'm about to hear. Almost as if I don't want to disturb the current calm.
"Mr. Patrick Jane?," the doctor queries, and when I nod gruffly, he adds, "can you come with me, please?"
And of course Van Pelt and Rigsby, and even Cho, who is nursing a rather large black coffee, look all too entirely mutinous at the suggestion that they somehow can't come along.
A slight nose pinching and scrunching of the eyes, and I just KNOW that..."Dr. Dylan Phelps" is a migraine sufferer.
"I'm sorry; hospital policy. Family only."
I want to nod and play the ruse, but Cho decides to play the spoil sport routine instead.
"He's not family!"
"Family, and medically appointed next-of-kin only, excuse me...," and I startle at that, then, too, while I take a look at a photocopied medical alert form and catch Lisbon's chicken scratch hand writing, the messy Patrick Jane, with my contact address and phone number running together in a very messy blend.
"You didn't know?," interrupts the slightly balding man to my left, not unkindly, before I see the slightest exhalation of breath.
When I fail to say anything, he adds, "Well, all the same, you are Agent Lisbon's medical proxy, so..."
And I feel something not exactly dead and not exactly alive coil in my belly. An ancient fear, from before, when I was in a similar position.
*"You are the medical proxy for your daughter, now, Mr. Jane. This decision is yours..."*
"Tell me...," and I hate my voice for going so gruff at that moment. For sounding so weak. "What else? - tell me."
Lisbon is curled up into a ball, smothered in blankets, her green eyes blandly scanning over some magazine or pamphlet that a nurse must have brought to her. Actually, only one green eye scans the paper - the other eye so swollen as to be completely incapable of opening. The right side of her face looks as if someone has smashed it into a rock repeatedly. A butterfly bandage sneaks around, and I see the slightest bit of pink darkening the cotton.
As I approach, she shifts and moves up higher in the bed.
Up and away.
I try to stay in her central line of sight, knowing she really only has the use of one eye for the next while. Her repositioning, however, gives me a rather unfortunate study of the rest of her face, her throat, her neck...
Good God - it looks like a wild animal clawed at her throat, and I find myself swallowing down a rather horrible mass before I attempt to approach her any closer.
`Her necklace is gone...`
"Teresa...," I start slowly, not knowing what to do to alleviate some of the fear I feel coming off her in waves. Residual fear. The type that lingers with you for quite awhile after something really shakes you up - shakes you up and threatens your sense of security. My voice, of course, is too worked up to really sound like my own, and I try again.
"Uh...wha- what are you reading?," which may sound like an absolutely idiotic question, except it really is not, because I know she heard me the first time and just chose not to respond.
Chose...chose not to, or cannot speak easily...
"Can...you really not talk? You always can talk...," I say at last, knowing that response will get a rise out of her and that anything will be better than this dulled, slow moving...victim.
And I see it then, an expression I have seen on Lisbon a hundred times before. Indignation.
Her lean hand reaches out - the one unfettered by the cast and sling - and reaches for a pad of canary writing paper and a black sharpie that has had the cap taken off and is obviously drying out. After a few frantic seconds, the sharpie stops its scrawling and Lisbon pushes the paper towards me, bumping a glass of water as she does so.
"It hurts," I read out loud for us both, stressing the word hurts, which has been purposefully underlined three times, before looking back over to her once more. I establish eye contact before asking as calmly as possible, "where do you feel pain, Lisbon?"
I catch the change in coloration then - from pale to bone-white china, the skin looking bloodless, the one open eye searing in a sort of furiousness, before I see my boss turn back to her magazine, bringing up the defenses, the trembling in her limbs stilling as she presses down against her knees. To anyone else, surely, all they`d see now is anger. But I have known her for two years now. I know anger is the first cover she uses to hide her fear.
*Stay calm, stay calm, Jane.*
"Hmm...I did not see you write a response. Or do you just not want to answer the question?"
And then at last, the small hand reaches forwards again, swiftly wiping at the one open eye with the back of the sling material, the whole face looking so lost that I almost want to reach out and stop what I am doing entirely. But I do not. Not yet.
Sensing my approach, the canary pad transfers back to her lap and this time the message is produced even more quickly.
"My throat," I read outloud again, glancing up at Lisbon with what I hope is really not too obvious a look of expectation.
"That's all?," and when I glance up again, it is in time to see the woman before me nod curtly to the cover of her Psychology Today magazine instead of me.
Sighing I bend down to pick up the overturned water glass, and mop up the remaining water with some left over tissue paper I manage to extract from my vest pocket.
"You don't need to tell me if you don't want to - but don't lie to me, because I know. Did you think I would not figure it out?," and right on cue the face turns upwards, looking scandalized, the lips a litany of no's, opening and closing soundlessly like a fish out of water.
"Traumatized people suffer damage to the basic structures of the self," and all the while I speak I see that petite head start to shake in denial, not wanting to hear. I take her good arm, her uninjured arm and capture it between my hands, "Listen to me! They lose trust in themselves, in other people, in God..."
I come a little closer then, and catch the hitch of breath, the holding in of air as she stills almost entirely, her eyes mock-scanning the magazine title, not really taking in anything at all anymore and I feel as if I am losing her to herself. But I know if I had had someone who I had trusted... and who could have cut through the fog of derealization right after I lost my wife and daughter, I might have avoided winding up as an involuntary psych patient in the first place.
"Rapists are motivated by the urge to dominate, and humiliate their victims. You KNOW this, Lisbon. And I know you are aware that like a torturer, they do so by using the most intimate acts available to humans - sexual ones."
She pulls back then, quickly, jerks with all her strength and I let go immediately, to note without sufficient comprehension or speed how both hands have curled up into little fists only to descend upon the wall to her side in one quick flash of rage. On the next upswing, I catch the arm and hold it firmly to my side, stopping all speech, while the arms slowly go limp in my own. After a few minutes, I let both arms go free, only to have Lisbon quickly furl in upon herself once more.
Stunned, and angry with myself for pushing her at all, I let some of the tension dissipate.
"I'm sorry I didn't know to come. I'm sorry I didn't know what it meant," and this catches her now, my whispers, so soft, so...damnably soft as I'm almost as mad with myself as I am with the two men that did this to her. So when she looks up at me warily, I don't even know if I should continue, or if it would be better for her sake if I didn't. "I heard the phone...my phone rang. Only once. A little after midnight. And then it stopped. Your cell. I didn't know what it meant. When I called back and I got no answer. I should have...I should have gone to see if you were okay."
When she finally turns to me again, she doesn't even attempt to cover up the fact that she has started to cry. And because the motion is accompanied by only the slightest wheezing from a damaged throat as she clamps down on her sobs, the whole room is still unnaturally quiet.