A/N: So I'm back with another collection of oneshots. Let's be honest here, it wasn't going to take me that long though. This time, the prompt collection is 50 Feelings. It's another prompt list/prompt table from the Fantasy Script forum.

First oneshot is also an entry to the November Jello-Forever challenge.

Thanks to Miss Peg for betaing. She's started writing TM fanfic (predominantly for Rigsby/Van Pelt), I recommend it!

x tromana


Title: A Grain of Truth
Author: tromana
Rating: T
Characters: Jane/Lisbon
Summary: He pretends, you know. Pretends he's moved on, pretends that he no longer acts as a traditional carnie does.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Notes: 50 Feelings prompt: smug. Jello-Forever November 2010 Challenge response. Prompt: truth and lies. Beta'd by Miss Peg.

A Grain of Truth

He pretends, you know.

Pretends he's moved on, pretends that he no longer acts as a traditional carnie does.

Pretends that he's actually a better person than he was.

That's all deceit and lies. Anybody who has known him for long enough knows that all too well.

I've had my eye on him for years; for longer than he cares to imagine. If he knew that he had indeed been my mark rather than vice versa, he would never have slandered my name. Never have even dared utter my pseudonym on live television.

He'd have simply been too scared.

That's one thing Patrick Jane always is: scared.

It's why he left the carnival; for fear that it was destroying his sense of humanity. Because he was scared that he was beginning to mix up who was a mark and who was not. Petrified of his dear father. That that was what he was going to become if he stayed for too long. Callous, ruthless, inhuman. Only living to play the lives of the innocent and to swindle money out of the honest.

He didn't like that. Neither did his wife.

But then again, as I said, he hasn't really changed.

Everybody is still a mark to him. There's still secrets and lies for him to exploit. Only now, the people whom he is loyal to are the police, the CBI. Teresa Lisbon and her little gang of agents. And instead of money, he is looking to get the truth out of people. To work out whether or not they killed somebody else.

Some may say this is a far more honorable way for him to use his skills. I say not.

Why?

Because he doesn't do it for the goodness. Not like those he works with. (Not for. There's an important difference. Regardless of what his superiors think, Patrick Jane could never work for anyone but himself. He looks for self gain, not to be doing what he does for the greater good.) He still enjoys exposing the darkest secrets of people whether or not they are guilty. There's so many people who now hold a vendetta against him simply because he's rubbed them up the wrong way during a murder investigation. This isn't his main priority thought. It's simply a diversion, a distraction, something 'fun' for him to do while he's focusing on the bigger picture.

What does he do it for, then?

Why, to get closer to me of course. I thought that much was obvious.

You see, I killed his family. To teach him a lesson, to remind him not to mix with things far too dangerous for his little mind handle. In an attempt to make him realize that for all the glitz, all the glamor, he was still the same old crooked boy wonder he'd always been.

I'd hoped he'd learn from that. Clearly, I was wrong.

He hasn't learned a damn thing.

He knows, though. Knows I'm keeping tabs on him.

Why else would I have bothered keeping Kristina Frye alive, rather than slaughtering her as I have already done with so many others? Really, what she's going through is a fate worse than death. It's rather poetic, considering she spent her life claiming that she could contact the dead. A fitting end for her as well; for she was proclaiming falsehoods just as much as dear Mr. Jane was.

But I digress. Frye is only a very small part of Jane's story. An example of what happens to those close to him.

She is half of the reason why he starts pushing Lisbon and her team way.

There's several methods he uses; they're all familiar with most of them.

Misdirection, planting of thoughts, acting cold and aloof, refusing to spend time with them and more. Making even more work than is entirely necessary for poor Lisbon by irritating everybody they have to deal with somehow. Even the insomnia is a lie. He needn't refrain from sleeping; he simply does so in order to make himself suffer and make himself even more unlikable. It's something he has actively cultivated as a means to an end.

Patrick Jane is a martyr to his cause.

He is determined to try and play me as I am him. Not that he'll ever succeed. He's always a few too many steps behind to beat me at my own game. Besides, the rules are constantly changing and he's always the last one to find out.

Using every trick in his arsenal works though. Lisbon has eventually had enough and persuades Agent Hightower to fire him.

Why? In one single case, he's racked up as many complaints as he usually does in a month. Caused a media backlash against the CBI for actively letting a criminal loose in order to lure out the head honcho of the crime gang. Upset several political leaders. Had poor Van Pelt hospitalized with a broken leg. Been generally unpleasant to Lisbon herself and the rest of her staff.

Finally and most importantly, he got an innocent victim and the perp unnecessarily killed.

That's not the kind of justice that Teresa Lisbon likes to see. Besides, the death of the young girl is too high a cost; even if it does mean that the criminal has gotten what he ultimately deserves.

The other half of the reason he pushes her away? It's because, despite his best intentions, he has fallen in love with her. He fears that since I dealt with Kristina, that Teresa Lisbon will be next. Jane is, after all, far closer to her than he ever was to Ms. Frye. Not that he'll ever admit to any of that out loud, least of all to her. Too full of self-importance and too busy persuading himself otherwise to be that honest with her.

It's only a small victory for him.

On his last day with the CBI, he says he's sorry to leave. She admits that she'll miss having him at work, if only because she won't have as much paperwork to do.

That's as truthful as either of them can get with one another. They're too busy being so suspicious of each other to ever be completely frank with one another. Teresa Lisbon gets hurt simply because he has to protect her in the long run. Be her knight in shining armor, regardless of how convinced she is that she doesn't need protection, least of all from him.

But at least he's done it. At least he's proven he cares about somebody who isn't himself. He's finally done one good thing in his life.

Because you know what?

That's the last honest thing he'll ever do.

end