Of Hearts and Saints: a Bloodstream Episode Tag
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.
Patrick took a final look at the medallion Byron Jordan gave him before pocketing it and heading to Lisbon's office. On his way, he saw Cho, Rigsby and Grace waiting for the elevator and knew that their offer to Lisbon to join them for drinks had been declined. He smiled at her predictability before heading inside to join her.
"Guess it's a good thing you never moved out. Imagine all the work it would have been to put everything back in place," Jane said in greeting. He placed his tea on the coffee table but remained standing, the better to observe her.
"Yeah," Lisbon agreed. "It was good of Cho to let me keep the office, though completely unnecessary, of course."
"Of course," Jane concurred ironically.
"I'm serious. I was 100% ready to move out," Lisbon insisted, gesturing with her pen.
"I know you were. You're Lisbon the untouchable. Nothing gets to you. But you might want to consider that other people are not as unflappable as you are. It'll save you a lot of trouble, and cause less ruffled feathers. "
"What's that supposed to mean?" she frowned.
"You, my dear, have been causing people grief all day."
"Excuse me?" Lisbon asked, genuinely shocked.
"Practically broke a couple of hearts too."
"What are you talking about?"
"First LaRoche, then Cho," Jane continued, tilting his head musingly.
Deciding that Jane was just being his usual annoying nonsense self, Lisbon went back to her paperwork. When Jane realized she fully intended on ignoring him, he gave in and explained.
"Laroche had questions about Hightower. He knew you were at a crime scene and being the enthusiastic and vigilant detective that he is, he didn't want to wait till you got back to CBI. Now as the new head, he could have formally requested you immediately come to his office. But he knew you wouldn't appreciate being pulled away from a case. Also, he respects you enough to not inconvenience you that way. Instead, he inconvenienced himself by coming over to where you were."
"No," Lisbon said, jerking her head back in disbelief.
"Yes," Jane said simply.
"No," she insisted.
"Yes. And I'll prove it you. What did he say when he reinstated you?" Jane challenged, tilting his head.
"Nothing, just that I was going to be given a commendation in my file and that I was back in charge. He never even brought up the demotion until I asked him about it."
"And when you did, did he give a reason for it?"
"That he was messing with me," Lisbon said, a bit triumphantly, thinking that Jane would now have to admit he was wrong in his conclusion.
"And…" he prodded.
"That it taught me that he won't tolerate disrespect," she added, grudgingly.
The consultant smiled broadly, as if he was just proven right.
"Oh come, on, how does that possibly fit in with your theory," Lisbon demanded.
"I'll translate for you: he was trying to do his job, plus he likes you. You treated him like scum, so he retaliated," Jane said, gesturing with his hands.
"You're way off," Lisbon argued, "he barely knows me."
"He knows enough. You're dedicated to your job. LaRoche understands and respects that."
"You're crazy." Lisbon said, shaking her head, "Now if you don't mind I'm kinda busy-"
"Lisbon," Jane interrupted, and something in his tone made her look him in the eyes, "You are far too humble to realize what you mean to those around you," Jane said meaningfully. Lisbon averted her eyes shyly as she understood his meaning. "Now I know what I'm talking about. Just give yourself a second to actually entertain the possibility."
Too embarrassed to refuse, Teresa complied with Jane's request. She suddenly remembered how kindly LaRoche had apologized to her when they were in the car together chasing Hightower who'd taken Jane hostage. Lisbon had found it odd at the time, even asked what he was apologizing for.
"Your boss. You admire her."
At the time, she'd hadn't wanted to think about what was going on and had told the man they needed to focus on the job at hand. Lisbon now realized that he had been expressing sympathy for her situation, despite being the one to expose Hightower.
Jane watched Lisbon sit back in her chair, finally allowing the truth of his words to digest.
"Crap," she said softly.
Jane's reply was that part hum/part grunt which came from the very back of his throat. For some reason, Lisbon always found that sound endearing. Not when he was using it to avoid an answer, but when he used it to affirm one.
In this case, Jane was using it for both reasons. He was happy he didn't need to point out that the real reason for Lisbon's outburst was her subconsciously blaming LaRoche for the circumstances of Hightower's tragedy.
Jane felt guilty enough as it was regarding the matter.
He'd actually considered telling Lisbon the truth that day, after her demotion. He had an idea that 'Lisbon the Colleague' would be much more open minded than 'Lisbon the Boss'. He was especially tempted when she'd lightheartedly told him she wouldn't ask what he was doing because she didn't have to. But by that point he'd already talked to Laroche; he'd known that the new CBI Head would reinstate her once he cooled down.
He'd sure miss that playfulness though…
"I guess I could afford to be more civil towards him; especially now that he's my boss," Lisbon said, interrupting Jane's thoughts. "But what about Cho?" Lisbon asked, "How have I caused him grief?"
"Ah yes, our good man Cho. He had no desire whatsoever to become your boss, and he wanted you to know it. In a grand gesture he'd worked out a plan with the others for your sake. But you had to act all high and mighty; the tough Agent Lisbon doesn't need anyone to look out for her."
"Stop calling me that."
"I must say though, I do admire your resilience in the face of adversary. It explains how you put up with me so well. Though we both know you would have been in hell if that demotion had actually happened."
Before Lisbon could protest his statement, Jane continued.
"Cho on the other hand didn't take your macho act very well. So he responded by giving you exactly what you asked for; treated you like his underling."
Lisbon finally understood what Cho meant when he told her "I prefer no walls between me and my team." She knew it had been said as a reproachful comment, but she hadn't understood the emotion behind it. She did now.
"It wasn't easy taking orders from your former subordinate was it?" Jane continued.
"Now you're wrong there. It was fine," Lisbon argued, mainly to divert form the other, equally valid but more disturbing point Jane was making.
"Right, of course it was. That's why you made sure Dr. Quick got his name to complain to him about my behavior. Kind of underhanded of you, wouldn't you say?"
Lisbon smiled abashedly.
"There's no shame in it," Jane continued, watching Lisbon grow more uncomfortable by the second, "You just wanted to make sure Cho knew what exactly what he was getting into. Besides, you're too much of a mother bear to make him take the blame for anything truly bad. Just like he respects you far too much to disrespect you, even though your aloofness hurt him," Jane finished off, then added "He tried to apologize to you didn't he."
It was a statement rather than a question.
"Maybe," Lisbon said noncommittally. Cho had tried to talk to her privately in the kitchen that day. She'd wanted to avoid an embarrassing confrontation, so she cut him off. Lisbon realized how incredibly rude she had been. "How do you know so much. You were hardly at the office all day," she said, practically pouting.
"Rigsby. Since his best friend's promotion, he needed someone else to vent to; mainly about how his best friend wouldn't' talk to him about how upset he was that his old boss wouldn't let him talk to her about their awkward role reversal."
The room was quiet for about two beats before Lisbon spoke.
"I actually understood that."
"You're on a roll," Jane said, referring to her comprehension earlier when he mentalized the victim at the crime scene, "I'll make you a 'understands mentalspeak' merit badge."
"Why not? I could use another coaster for my coffee cups," Teresa said dryly.
Jane gave her a look of mock outrage. Her dimple deepened in answer before she bent over her desk once more, as if to return to her tasks.
Patrick didn't 'interrupt, knowing Teresa was actually mulling over his words. He sat down to drink his tea. It had gotten considerably cooler than he liked it due to how long their conversation was; but Lisbon was worth the small sacrifice.
She'd needed to hear it; to realize that she mattered to people.
Glancing covertly at her as he took a drink from his now tepid tea, Jane saw the pen in her hand hovering aimlessly over her papers, and that her eyes were unfocused. But to his dismay, she looked more like someone who was beating herself up rather than someone who was basking in the glow of her colleagues' love.
Typical Lisbon. I should have known, Jane berated himself.
But before he could say something (he wasn't sure what) to lighten her mood, Lisbon spoke.
"They know know I care though," she said, the resoluteness of the statement contrasting with her forlorn expression, "Not Laroche, obviously. I meant Cho, and the team."
"Of course they do," Jane was quick to reassure her, "they just want you to know that they care too."
The silence resumed once more. Patrick was thankful. It allowed him to digest the enormity of Lisbon actually confiding in him.
"They invited me out for drinks."
"Did they?" She didn't need to know that he knew.
"I took a rain check. I have work to do," she continued, pointing to the papers at her desk.
"I really did want to go," Lisbon said emphatically.
"Maybe next time," Patrick replied optimistically. He sincerely hoped she would.
Lisbon nodded, and her face suddenly lit up with a genuine smile.
"You know what was really nice?"
"What," Jane asked, thinking he'd be sure to make a note of whatever it was. She looked so happy.
"Cho actually smiled when he and the guys asked me to join them. That was sweet."
"I'll bet it was," Jane said, smirking himself, "It is a rare individual that is bestowed the gift of seeing the 'Kimball dimples'."
"Yeah, I can see why he'd want to hide them though. They are too cute."
Jane's grin lost its momentum and his eyebrows rose.
"What?" Lisbon asked.
"I have dimples. You never said they were cute."
"Well, yours aren't."
"They're not?" Jane asked, his face was carefully neutral, which Lisbon knew usually meant he was hiding how surprised he was.
"Not when you use them as a weapon, " she amended, "Cho's are more sincere."
"My dimples are sincere," Jane insisted, the hurt now obvious on his face.
"Figures you'd be the jealous type," Lisbon muttered to herself.
"They are sincerely charming," Jane continued, now smiling broadly to display them, wagging his eyebrows at her.
Lisbon rolled her eyes. Annoyed she fell for his ploy, she went back to her paperwork, this time for real.
Silence reigned for a while. Jane, having finished his tea, ended up sprawling on her couch. Teresa thought he was asleep when he suddenly spoke.
"What?" she asked, not looking up from her desk.
"You know the stories behind the Saints?" he queried behind closed eyelids. He was sure she did, he just stated it as a question to set the venue for what he really wanted to ask.
"Some of them."
"Ever heard of Saint Sebastian?"
"I think he helps people in pain. Why?"
"Oh, no reason. Saint Patrick's day is close, so I've been wondering about the other saints."
"Wanna know the story behind my namesake," she asked as a dare.
Jane opened his eyes to let them twinkle at her.
"Saint Teresa, Patron saint of headache sufferers."
"Exactly. Did you also know she used to suffer them herself? Apparently, that's how she got her status" she said, shaking her head at the 'headache' in front of her.
"I did. I thought it was poetically fitting," Jane revealed, grinning broadly at her.
"Isn't it just?" Lisbon said sarcastically, "I don't know what my parents were thinking. They've practically doomed me since the day I was born."
Lisbon had said it as a joke, but her tone had turned serious towards the end as she realized the morbid truth her words held. But before Jane could worry about her she shrugged.
"Oh well. At least she died of natural causes. That sounds peaceful."
"Yes it does," Jane agreed, glad Lisbon had returned to jotting down whatever it was she was working on. That meant she couldn't see the depth of the emotion he knew was in his eyes as gazed at her.
Fingering the medallion through his pants pocket, Jane hoped he'd never live long enough to test whether it would indeed help him suffer through the worst pain of all; losing another loved one.
Disturbed with his thoughts, Jane roused himself from the couch. He knew exactly what would pull him from this dark mood.
"Are you almost done?"
"Jane. I've only been working half an hour."
"Since it is almost St. Patrick's day, what do you say we go engage in some Irish tradition?" he asked, approaching Lisbon's desk, hands in his pockets.
"Getting drunk," Lisbon scoffed, flipping a page, "I already turned the others down. I told you, I'm bus-."
"Getting lucky," Jane deadpanned.
Watching Lisbon's hand freeze, mid flip, Jane knew the innuendo was not lost on her. As she slowly raised her head to look at him, he was gleefully aware of her ears turning red.
Unleashing his dimples, he gave her his most his most devastating grin.
"You…" Lisbon sputtered, then threw her pen at Jane where it smacked him on the forehead.
"Get out," she ordered, cheeks red.
"You're blushing," he couldn't help adding, knowing he had a death wish.
"I'm going to kill you," she said, with a feral smile.
"Calm yourself, woman. You know, St. Patrick died of natural causes too, you wouldn't want to ruin the legend now would you," he teased.
When Lisbon made to get up from her chair Jane ran out of her office, only to poke his head back in.
"I never said we had to do it together!"
He ducked when another pen flew over his head, then quickly left before any more could follow.
Jane chuckled to himself as he made his way to LaRoche's office. Making his control freak of a boss lose control would always cheer him up.
Patrick never wanted to imagine life without Teresa Lisbon. And for that, he had a friend to thank.
Author's note: I have to stress that my take on LaRoche here came as result of the reviews I've been writing for the series. I hated the man as much as anyone else at first but found myself warming up to him in the last two episodes (you can find the reviews by following the link on my author's page). By the way, the St. Patrick's day reference was made in anticipation of Little Mender next holiday fic. March 17 cannot come fast enough for me :) Just to be clear, I know nothing of the Irish other than what I read in Frank McCourt's autobiography Angela's Ashes (amazing book), and Robin Tunny's Bonnie interview where it was mentioned that they both come from big families. I did not mean to offend in any way; the joke just seemed like something Jane would say to embarrass Lisbon. I hope it's taken in good fun. Please let me know what you think. This was my first humorous/fluffy fic ever so I was kind of nervous about it.