Teresa Lisbon, Office Politics, and Red Colleagues-3

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.

The next time Osvaldo Ardiles saw Teresa Lisbon was when he visited her in her office.

Her left arm was in a sling and the fire he'd admired in her eyes during their last encounter had been replaced by a haunted look.

But the biggest change was the fact that her consultant (who was usually as close to her as her shadow) was missing.

That day Jane was not lying on his boss's couch. He was not even in the bullpen couch where Ardiles knew he was just as likely to be found.

No. Patrick Jane was in jail. Because he had killed a man he claimed was the infamous serial killer Red John.

Ardiles studied Teresa for a while from her office window. She was lost in a daze, her round green eyes fixed on her big white couch.

He finally rapped on the door to get her attention.

Lisbon started from her stupor and gave him a nod in greeting.

"Heard you got shot. Came to check on you," he said in, coming inside to sit on the chair across her desk.

"I'm fine," she said, with a shrug.

Her eyes were soulless; empty.

Osvaldo felt something inside him was not the Teresa Lisbon he knew. This was not the strong woman who had reamed him in his own office less than two weeks ago.

"Okay, that was a lie. I heard about Jane."

Lisbon gave him another shrug with her good shoulder, her eyes fixed on her desk top now.

"For what it's worth, I'm sorry."

She finally dragged her green gaze with what seemed to be a lot of effort to meet his eyes.

"Will you be trying the case?"

"It's too soon to tell," he told her honestly.

Lisbon nodded.

There didn't seem much else to be said after that. He got up to leave, but turned around at the door to address her.


He waited until she looked at him.

"You shouldn't blame yourself for this. You can't control people."

She looked away once more.

"Thanks for stopping by Ardiles."

Osvaldo took the hint and left.

Riding the CBI elevator down, Osvaldo thought moodily about how Teresa Lisbon seemed only a shadow of her former self.

It's amazing how quickly things can changeā€¦

Ardiles wondered if he could have done more to help her if he'd asked her out like he had wanted to before all this happened. If they were closer, if they were dating, would she have been more open to his condolences? Would she have allowed him to comfort her?

Maybe, maybe not.

But one thing he did know was that her current state was only temporary. Teresa would eventually get over what she perceived as her failure; at least enough to do everything in her power to help Jane.

Because that was who she was. She took care of her people.

With that in mind Osvaldo considered that perhaps it was just as well he hadn't gotten involved with her. It would have put him in a very awkward position if he was chosen to represent the state against Patrick Jane. Not to mention, the defendant would have had an unfair advantage. Even just as colleagues, he was already pretty smitten with Teresa Lisbon.

Maybe, after the trial was over, and if they all came out of it unscathed with no hard feelings, maybe then he'll ask her out.

But until then, he'll have to be very careful. If in fact he was chosen to prosecute Jane's trial, more than the defendant, he'll have Teresa Lisbon to contend with.

A worthy adversary if ever he saw one.

Author's Note: Okay, so this didn't end the way I wanted it to but you all can blame the finale for that. But I confess I think it turned out pretty well. Feel free to let me know :) Thanks again to robinrouge for inspiring this.