Disclaimer: The day I own pigs will have their own international flight service.
Sometimes, now, he can make it through the night.
He lays fully clothed, on his makeshift bed in his makeshift attic hideaway in the bureau, pondering the implications of this.
He's been sleeping, actually sleeping lately, rather than the catnaps and deliberate relaxation techniques he's been subsisting on since...well, since.
A couple of weeks ago Lisbon had walked in on him completely, deeply asleep.
She had to wake him with a tentative shove to the shoulder, and two weeks later he still can't decide if he would have been more embarrassed had she walked in on him stark naked.
She wasn't discomfited that he'd been asleep mid morning on a Tuesday; he thinks she was more upset about having to disturb his "rest", as she put it. He assured her he wasn't "resting" and herded her out the door with haste, still half awake but strangely refreshed.
Their couch-and-desk routine has been interrupted of late, he muses, adjusting the pillow under his head.
They've both been off; him intense and edgy, her anxious and edgy; and the chaos he used to be able to leave at Lisbon's office door is now brought inside by the constant interruptions. He should have anticipated; murder in a cop's house is akin to provoking a bee colony; instant swarm.
So he hides; needing a place to sit in solitude to work on Red John's puzzle, to keep himself focussed and ready. And to keep his path absolutely resolute.
He tenses at a step on the stair- then relaxes as something drops to the floor and he hears the muttered "Crap."
He's forgotten that cops, especially cops like Lisbon who carry double their weight and refuse all help, need their own version of privacy too. He eyes the door through almost-closed lashes, wonders if she'll try to talk.
Lisbon walks into the room, holding the book she must have dropped and looking for all the world like a mime depicting the word "Sneak."
She eases into the chair next to his bed, rewarding herself with a self-satisfied grin, and he can't stifle an amused chuckle at her antics.
Lisbon jumps, dropping her book again.
"Smooth." He comments.
She just slashes a glance at him as she leans to pick up her book and he thinks better of the sarcastic remark he's about to make.
He waits for her to tease him about sleeping on the job, but she just opens her book, shoots him one sly look under her lashes and starts reading, apparently content with the silence.
He shrugs mentally, inclined to give her her space for the moment.
He closes his eyes, listens to the pages turning. He feels something indefinable inside him relax, the way it has before the few times he's slept through the night, the way it used to when they sat in her office, lazy conversation and banter gliding back and forth between them.
He drifts, for a while, until the silence alerts him. The pages have stopped turning, and he can feel her eyes on him.
He groans theatrically. ''What, Lisbon?"
A page immediately turns, and he opens his eyes to grin at her.
She just stares back at him blandly, the way she's taken to doing lately- which infuriates him because he's sure she's developed it purely so he can't read her gaze.
There are other ways, though.
He's been finding it more and more difficult to make her crack; but one guaranteed way to accomplish it is to make her angry, which he doesn't fancy doing, mostly because the book she's holding is rather large and he knows she doesn't have any qualms about throwing heavy objects when provoked.
But the other way is to make her laugh- and the trick there is to be quick and ruthless, before she figures out what he's doing and sets her face to The Lisbon Stare.
"Are you trying to read my thoughts? Perhaps I should read yours?" He mimics a falsetto. "Patrick looks sooo handsome all arranged on his crappy uncomfortable bed like that. He could be an ad for sleeping pills!"
This time she rolls her eyes at him, but not before her lips reluctantly quirk as he watches closely. Ha. Round One to Patrick Jane.
"Nope, just wondering if you were thinking of dying those grey hairs." She points to a spot on his head and he claps his hand over it.
Stops as she grins fully at him, and then resumes her reading.
"Oh, very funny, Lisbon. Don't think I won't add that to the growing tally." He growls at her, keeping a wary eye on her as he resettles himself.
She shrugs, supremely unconcerned, and buries her nose deeper in the book as he mutters "Cops," under his breath.
He closes his eyes again, considering this situation they keep finding themselves in; where she shows up and he lets her, or he intrudes, pokes his nose where he knows it's not wanted...and she tolerates it.
There is a part of his mind, of his heart that never sleeps. It refuses to let go of soul-deep, chilling grief and an anger so cold that most days he's certain that once Red John is gone, he's never coming back as a human being.
That's okay with him, most days he doesn't want to.
But...there are things that make him forget- no. He never forgets.
Lisbon, and her team. They make him relax his knuckle-whitening, exhausting grip on his grief, on his hatred. They get under his guard and make him want things he will never ask for.
To touch someone. To be held. To cry out sorrow and pain and fear and horror in great shuddering choking sobs until there's nothing left of the Pandora's Box he has locked within him.
To allow himself the sanctuary of an embrace that doesn't express pity but understanding.
To be loved. Even as pitiful and pathetic as he really is, beneath all the bravado.
To be loved.
And there she is, his knight in shining grey slacks and black dress shirt.
He marvels, every day, that she hasn't given up on him yet. He alternately dreads and welcomes the day she inevitably will. He's become used to her stubborn insistence that she has his back- as if they're playing an innocent game of doubles tennis.
He suspects she's not allowing herself to comprehend the full nightmare, the full horror of the situation- while he thinks of nothing but.
That's the difference and the likeness between them.
He is, ultimately, doomed. And she will walk this path beside him, he a criminal in all but deed, and she - his accomplice and saviour in all but that final action.
He shifts on the bed, dares to sneak a peek through his lashes. Lisbon is looking out his window, indulging in the opportunity to be still, for once. He approves heartily of the concept, but counts the seconds anyway until she- yep- picks up her book, scoops her hair behind her ears firmly and continues reading with typical determinedness.
They're a pair alike, Lisbon and he.
Loners; lonely. Stubborn and irascible, resolute and driven.
There are days, when she's under his skin or he's let his guard down or forced her to lower hers, when he delights in her company in the strongest sense of the phrase, although naturally he'd swear with his last breath it wasn't so.
He knows from firsthand experience what happens to his close associates when they become too close.
He's seen the way she looks at him, when she thinks he's unaware. He knows she worries, frequently and deeply; is touched by her concern.
He's beyond saving.
There are some days he's not sure whether he keeps telling her this so that she'll know or so he will.
She's developed a poker face not nearly as good as his by a long shot- but still good- something that makes him almost as worried as he is proud.
Some days he thinks that his dark edges are rubbing off on her. Others, he considers the facets of her that are influencing him.
The absolute pleasure he finds in making her laugh, making her grumpy, making her scold him in that resigned so-help-me-Patrick-Jane tone. Hearing the lines he knows she reserves just for him.
And the way she can unfold, momentarily, unexpectedly, giving him another piece of the Teresa Lisbon puzzle.
Her absolute belief that she can save him.
He opens his eyes to find her looking at him once again, is momentarily thrown by the...something, that he can't identify in her gaze.
"You can't save me," he blurts, unintentionally verbalising his thoughts.
She blinks, and whatever he saw is gone.
"I'm not saving you. I'm reading my book." She replies, too calmly and he finds himself irrationally wanting to ruffle her feathers.
"I think we both know what I mean, Lisbon."
She sighs. "I will do what is right in the eyes of the law, Jane. And so will you."
He snorts, deliberately insulting. "And you've seen this in your crystal ball? Lisbon has had a vision!" He gestures to her, props a hand behind his head. "Please, share with the class."
Lisbon just looks at him. Then tosses her book to the floor, strides to lean over him. "You really think I don't know you, don't you? Even after all this time, you think that mask you wear every day has me completely fooled." She states this with that look she gets with suspects right before she nails them to the wall, and he starts up and nudges past her to stand over her; suddenly not above using height to his advantage.
"I think you're fooling yourself that I have hidden depths when it comes to Red John, Lisbon. Let me tell you once and for all: I don't. He's mine, and I will kill that man, and you and the rest of the team will not stop me."
Her arrested look flickers across her face and is replaced just as quickly by determination. She shrugs. "Yes, I will."
They're approaching typical Lisbon stubbornness now; this time her implacable attitude and absolute belief in him, in herself makes him afraid, because in all other matters he trusts her judgement implicitly. When he's afraid, he gets mean.
"You're a child; Lisbon, making up stories. The only story here is that I'm a monster in the making." He gives her a pained smile. "The only story you will find in this room is a horror story. You can't be so naive as to think there will be a happy ending to this tale."
She shakes her head, obviously frustrated. "And you're a real boy, Pinocchio. You think I'm living in some fantasy here? I'm here, in the real world, bruised and beaten and bleeding- by my choice. And I don't see a hell of a lot of happy endings- but I see you. I see what you are- and who you are- and I know you." She paces a couple of steps, agitated, then pins him with eyes glittering with unshed tears. "And you're so sure people can't see you, the look in your eyes when you go cold, when you're this "monster?"
She spins on her heel, strides towards the door, then stops.
He watches her shoulders rise in quick breath before she's walking back towards him, until they're toe to toe.
She stretches up against him to look him in the eye, and he'd almost think she had sexual motives if he couldn't see the battle fire in her eyes, feel the anger coming off her in waves.
She swallows, and he watches a tear slip unnoticed down her cheek as she breathes, "You're not as cold as you think you are, Jane. You're not as alone as you think you are."
She shoves him, lightly, so that he takes a step back, off balance, giving her time to spin and head out the door before he can catch her.
The fact that he wants, very badly, to go after her and make her look at him without that look in her eyes like he's disappointed her, like he's hurt her- it makes him stay, because the minute he walks after Teresa Lisbon is the minute he's finished walking his own path.
And he's not done. Not yet.
Still, as he settles back down, breathing hard and already resigned to the fact he'll spend the rest of the night plotting to make it up to her, he notices her book, lying open on the floor.
He gets up, carefully marks her page, and puts it gently, cover up, on her seat.
Just in case she finds herself wanting to keep him company while he's sitting in solitude.
Author's Note: Something I had in my head, the image of giving comfort to someone who's so isolated. Thank you very much for reading!