Author's Note: I so shouldn't be allowed to read Hamlet. I start getting morbidly philosophical.

This idea came to me the other day, and I wrote down the dialogue. When I was finished, I needed a fandom to put it into, and it seemed like only Mr. Jane could fit the criteria of being utterly irritatingly evasive.

Slight Jisbon... if you tilt your head and squint your eyes...

Disclaimer: The Mentalist is soooo not mine... Neither are Hamlet or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland...

The Dangers of Literature

Teresa Lisbon was not amused.

She had been looking for her consultant for close to an hour now. He was meant to be joining the team for closed-case pizza. Well, technically, he was meant to be paying for their closed-case pizza, which of course, was probably why he had disappeared. No-one had seen him since earlier that afternoon, when he got bored- there had been three relatively small-time cases, one right on the heels of the other, and they had all decided to have the one pizza for the three. Jane had barely even bothered to look up from his books to help; he'd become engrossed in the British classics – Shakespeare, Carroll, though particularly Hamlet.

While she hadn't been all that bothered by him reading – a reading Jane was a quiet Jane – she wasn't going to let him get out of paying.

There was another reason, of course, but it was one she wouldn't let anyone know. She worried about him. She felt better seeing him having a good time with the team than sitting in that draughty attic by himself. Plus, with them, she could keep an eye on him.

Losing her patience, Lisbon took her phone out of her pocket to try his number for a fourth time, wandering thoughtlessly through a quiet, nearby park. It comforted her to walk while listening to the dial tone, and the fresh air calmed her mind. She was almost surprised when the dial tone stopped suddenly mid-ring, but she quickly went on with what she wanted to say.

'Jane? Where the hell are you? I've been ringing you all day, it's your turn to pay for pizza.'

'Where do you think me to be?'

Teresa blinked, her step faltering slightly, 'What do you mean?' she rolled her eyes, irritations only growing, 'I'm not in the mood for your games right now, Jane, just tell me where you are so I can get my damn pizza.'

'I mean what I say, Lisbon; where do you think me to be?'

'Don't tell me you went home already?'

'Is that where you think I am?' he made a surprised sound, 'Well then, to you, that's where I am.'

'"To me"? So... that's not where you really are?'

'Who's to say I'm really anywhere? What's to say what's real or not? Only thinking makes it so. In your mind, is there not my image lounging in the backdrop of my flat?'

The image came unbidden to her mind, and she couldn't deny it, 'Well, yes, but I don't see what that has to do with-'

'Then that is where I am. Or, should your mid turn to darker thought, and I lay dead somewhere, then like the goodly liar that I am, there I lay. For certain, I have died a thousand times, by a many people's minds. I'm astonished that anyone can walk a path unhindered; at every step we should be tripping o'er the worried and the angered minds' murders.'

Lisbon subconsciously looked down at the path she was walking, before even realising she was doing so, and shaking the idea from her head. Sighing ever more irritably, she said 'Look, Jane, while this is a fascinating trip through your morbid philosophy, you still haven't told me where you are.'

'In your mind, Lisbon, and out of mine.'

Well we all knew that... Teresa thought sourly, before deciding to change tack, 'Well, if you won't tell me where your mind is, would you tell me where your physical body is?'

'"My body"?' he gave a surprised chuckle, 'Oh, then I am dead? How queer it is for, while in life it was wont to wander far from 't, in death my mind lingers o'er my frame like a shroud; festering as it did in life.'

'Jane, just stop it! Seriously, where are you?'

He was quiet for a moment, and when he spoke again, his voice was less slightly less playful, but instead musical 'My hair brushes the the clouds, but I've my roots in the ground,' she could almost imagine his smile at the next,'You may think that I take leave my senses, but I instead surround myself with their plural.'

'Is it too much to ask for a straight answer that actually makes sense?'

'I'm making perfect sense, Lisbon, you're just not keeping up.'

'Insults and riddles help no-one, Jane.'

'I beg to differ, they are the very language of women, and I think you'll find that it has got them far. I'm only a parrot, and perhaps I won't get so far as it takes your gender; so far as to make them the breeders of a whole world of sinners, of which I am simply the produce thereof.'

Teresa scoffed, 'With a claim like that, you could single-handedly make the birthrate plummet overnight.'

'Ah-ha! True, plumbing can be a problem indeed when conception's the aim; a concept can block the mind of all other thoughts, and while it begins as nothing but a snatch of thought, it builds upon itself, growing until it holds the mind to ransom. All the helpless mind can do is try and document that concept before it vanishes once again, lost to the wind, rustling through the eaves, and snagging at the hair,' at this, Teresa's own hair got caught in a branch from the tree she was walking under, stopping to smack it away, only to find nothing there, 'Leaving that mind dazed and confused,' again, her hair caught, and again there was nothing there when she turned to look, and realisation dawned, 'or crazed and defused. Whichever.'

Teresa could almost feel her eye twitch with irritation. She stood perfectly still, phone still clamped to her ear. Once again, the branch touched the back of her head. Her free hand shot up; yanking the branch down and away.

Keeping hold of both the branch and the phone, she turned her eyes in a death-glare into the foliage. Sure enough there, stretched out between a fork in the branches, both his posture and his grin irritatingly Cheshire-Cat-like, was Patrick Jane. Looking far too proud of himself, he rang off, and waved at her, far too innocently.

'Jane...' she said, softly, dangerously, as she slipped her phone into her pocket, 'Get down here. Now.'

'If it's all the same with you, I'd rather stay up here.'

'Jane!'

'Ah, you see,' he said quickly, holding up a finger to make her pause, 'with me up here, and you down there, I'm at less risk of injury.'

At this, she quirked an eyebrow, putting a hand to her cocked hip, giving him a look that made his grin falter slightly.

'Oh really?'

She held the stick with both hands, launching a vicious attack on ever inch of him that she could reach, each hit punctuating a gritted word.

'I – AM – NEVER – LETTING – YOU – READ – AGAIN!'

*O*O*O*

Teresa Lisbon and Patrick Jane arrived in the dog pen just as the pizzas arrived, and in time for Jane to pay the delivery boy. Both Wayne Rigsby and Grace Van Pelt looked between their boss and the consultant with shock, and even Kimball Cho raised an eyebrow at them. Both of them were rumpled, Jane sporting a rather sullen look, his hair mussed and one or two... were they leave? Sticking out here and there. While Lisbon looked comparatively triumphant, snagging her pizza and eating it with relish.

Jane, meanwhile, took his pizza over to his couch, picking up the books he had left there earlier. Dumbly, the rest of the team watched the gaze that flickered between them. Without a word, Jane dropped his books into the nearest trash can.

'Umm...' Rigsby ventured, his voice breaking the silence, eyes still bouncing between the two of them, 'What just-'

'Rigsby?' Cho interrupted, 'I think it's best if we don't think ask.'

Van Pelt, still looking between them, nodded. 'I don't think we'd understand if we did.'