DISCLAIMER: The Mentalist does not belong to me. It is the creation of Bruno Heller. I'm writing this fiction to express my love for the series and maybe vent a little.
"Thank you for coming to my rescue."
It was only when she entered her office that Lisbon realized how warm that single sentence made her feel.
How that small token of appreciation from Jane had her smiling shyly like he had praised her for something special.
It wasn't. She always saved him.
Wait a minute. She always saved him. He rarely thanked her for it.
Why this time?
Stop it, she commanded herself. Don't ruin a lovely moment with doubt.
What was it he said about doubt?
"When in doubt, don't."
Well, that was easier said than done when it came to him. But he certainly made it easier. No matter how manipulative he was, no matter how many times he conned her into going along with his ruses, she never stopped following his lead.
To be honest, she wasn't sure she wanted to stop. Things did usually work out okay.
But she hated feeling like he was keeping something personal from her. Something that mattered; not just on cases.
"You don't honestly believe that I had anything to do with Hightower's actions tonight do you?"
He had asked her that while lying on his makeshift bed.
Jane had actually shaved that day and looked like he got his hair trimmed. His golden curls were tamer than usual and his was face clear of its usual stubble.
It was a fry cry from the bad boy vibe he'd been sporting for months now.
Instead, his boyish good looks were on full blast; Jane looked ridiculously young. And with his eyebrows furrowed, lips full and pouty in his earnest, he'd practically had a halo on his head.
She had told him she didn't know what to believe. But she liked Hightower. Lisbon honestly didn't think she would mind being conned by him this time if it meant her boss was innocent of any wrongdoing.
But Jane had maintained his innocence and Lisbon dropped the matter. She'd never know what the truth was so she'd concentrate on the positives of the situation.
"Don't beat yourself up Teresa, there's nothing you could have done to prevent this."
The kindness in Hightower's words assured Lisbon that, regardless of what had happened, they had, in fact, shared a connection. They were friends.
Maybe the first Lisbon ever had.
No, not the first, Lisbon amended with a smile.
And that was all she needed to remember to feel better about the fiasco: Jane was safe.
That's all that mattered.
But by the time Lisbon got home, the ramifications of Madeline's departure hit her.
Who'd be her new boss?
Lisbon cursed her luck. It figures that when she finally got to know her boss, finally started developing a fondness for her to accompany the respect that was already there, she had to lose her.
What positivity Lisbon had was already spent on not thinking about Jane's possible subterfuge and Hightower's betrayal.
Lisbon was all out of optimism and she couldn't help feeling dread over whoever would become the new CBI head.
She'd never get someone as understanding and caring as Minelli. Or someone who actually liked Jane like Madeline had.
Once more, she'll have to be on her guard, prove herself all over again to someone new. She'd have to justify her every action, as well as Jane's. There would also be a settling in period, as Jane called it, where she would be examined for every weakness; including how much leeway she gave him.
Crap, Lisbon thought as she brushed her teeth.
For the first time that day, she seriously felt like crying.
She hated the unknown, specifically when that unknown had the potential to ruin her life.
After all, her job was her life.
Teresa still felt the sting from when Bertram threatened to have her removed from the case. Just because she hadn't wanted to write off Hightower immediately as a criminal, he had questioned her ability to so her job, asked if she was too close.
Lisbon had managed to quell her anger at the time but that rage returned now.
She'd thought Bertram was pretty decent when he let her get away with tipping off a reporter regarding his political games; she'd done that to force him into giving her rightful jurisdiction of a hostage situation.
The fact that he hadn't penalized her had raised him in her esteem.
But that was all gone now.
There was just something so cold about how happy he was to "close the chapter" as he said on the Hightower ordeal.
She pretty much hated him now. Even Laroche, creepy robocop Laroche had shown more emotion. Lisbon had been surprised when he expressed sorrow for her situation.
"I'm sorry," he'd said.
"Your boss. You admire her."
The fact that he of all people was feeling sorry for her was probably what finally made Lisbon accept the terrible situation.
And yet, Teresa knew she'd never forget Hightower's last words to her; the short-lived bond they had accidentally formed.
She had been honestly surprised, and pleased, when Hightower hugged her out of gratitude a couple of weeks ago. And for what? For watching her kids. It was something Teresa would have done for anyone.
Lisbon never would have imagined that same Hightower to be a killer. She still couldn't.
Was this a sign, a reminder that she should be on her guard? The she shouldn't trust people?
It had always been her mantra; to keep a professional distance between herself and her coworkers.
But she couldn't live like that anymore. Teresa loved her team. Surely she could at least have faith in them couldn't she?
Even Jane's madness was a somewhat predictably volatile variable in the equation that was the Serious Crimes Unit.
They were a family.
She had to hope for the best. She had to be strong, especially now that a new element would be brought in. She'd take care of her team, and she knew that they would back her up. They'd help her keep Jane in check, at least until they got to know the new Head.
Maybe Jane himself will be willing to keep himself in check, Lisbon mused, as she tucked herself into bed.
After all, he'd calmed down a bit the last couple of weeks. Her breaking the law had somehow led to him actually following it.
Maybe she should use his gratitude; call in a favor for saving his butt. Have him save hers by simply behaving.
The thought put a smile on Lisbon's face as she imagined the arguments Jane would come up with to get out of being indebted to her.
Now that she thought about it, it would be better if she didn't do anything. Because if, by some miracle, Jane decided that he would cooperate with her plan to lay low, he'd probably end up lording his good behavior over her; tell her that she now owed him.
Just imagining his smug expression was enough to have Lisbon nix the idea.
She'll just have to trust that he'd know how to behave with the new boss. After all, reading people was his specialty.
And she was pretty sure that he liked his job enough to hang on to it.
Perhaps that was the one thing they had in common.
Their jobs were all they had.
As Lisbon drifted off to sleep, she vowed that she'd do everything in her power to make sure they both kept their positions at CBI for as long as they could.
Author's note: Just something I thought Lisbon might think about, considering how badly things went the last time she got a new boss, (and yes, maybe I read a snippet about the next episode). But I also wanted to convey something between the lines regarding her emotions about Jane. Please let me know if it worked :) "Mend This Tear" readers, I promise I'll try to get a new chapter out ASAP. I had been busy writing a review for Red Queen, and this fic was born as a result. Those interested in the review can find it by following the link on my author page.