by Emily (TropicalStormEmily)
This is a companion fic to "Love Lives On" by funnygirlOoObroadwaybaby, check that story out too.
I never have, do not, and never will own The Mentalist or any of Bruno Heller's amazing characters.
It's remarkable how sadness and self-loathing slowly siphon energy from the body. Grief eats at the body, draining it of all vitality and life. Patrick Jane slept on that warm, late-April night for longer than he had in weeks. He slept in an empty bed, devoid of the warm presence that usually lay next to him smelling sweetly of clean soap. He slept alone, in his clothes, with no one to remind him that life still must go on. But he slept. That night, falling asleep had been just like falling; he fell and fell into the darkness, as if drowning without water. Nightmares were nothing new, but this empty dreamlessness was foreign to Patrick. He was used to sleepless nights, terrifying nightmares, and waking in a panicked sweat. But this deep, grief-ridden sleep was a new experience. Unbeknownst to the sleeping man, wind screamed through the house, and rain pounded on all around, streaming in through the screened windows. Every windowsill was wet, as if the rain was making up for the unspent tears Patrick did not shed while asleep. As strange as this sleep was for him, things would be yet stranger upon waking. This time, there was no one to blame, no revenge to seek, and no means to quell the anguish. Teresa Lisbon's death would destroy him from the inside out if he could not stop the turmoil of agony and sorrow that plagued his presently unconscious mind. If anything, it would tear at him deeper when awake.
The next morning, he did not waken to the familiar smell of coffee. When he walked downstairs, he did not see his beautifully brunette wife turn 'round from the coffee maker and give him a warm smile. There was no cheerful voice, or thinly-veiled sarcasm as a morning greeting. If Patrick was sure of one thing, it was that he would never hear her voice again. He listened closely for a minute, hoping that the past few days had been a dream. He wished and wanted to be wrong, wanted his memories to be false. Patrick Jane almost prayed, until malicious thoughts crept up. What kind of a god would rip away his life again? Surely he had not deserved this particular torment twice. But if he was completely silent, he could almost fool himself that he heard her lilting laugh. The rain had stopped, leaving him alone, with not even the raindrops to soothe his aching mind. Patrick walked over to the sink and turned on the hot water to wash his hands. If he closed his eyes, the light breeze from the open window caressing him almost felt like her hair on his face. He already missed her embrace, longed for the feeling of her solid body next to his. When he opened his eyes and slowly turned off the water, he drew himself back to reality. She was not here. Teresa was not in his kitchen, not in his house, and no longer solidly in his life. The thought scared him, and consumed him. Patrick looked at the tea kettle, but his stomach curled in on itself, recognizing the fact that anything he ate or drank now would just come back up. The corners of his mouth twitched down and his eyes became wide, fighting back the tears and overwhelming thoughts racketing through his skull.
Patrick's clothes were rumpled, his hair a mess, and his eyes simply looked tired. He took off his vest and belt, gently setting them on the kitchen table. He caressed the top of the wooden chair where Teresa usually sat and pulled it out, easing himself gently down. There was something comforting about surrounding himself with the memory of Teresa Lisbon. She protected him, even in death. He looked at the clock, more out of habit, not particularly caring what time it was. Somewhere in the back of his brain, he realized that he had slept late, and that people would be missing him. However, he kept sitting there, lost in the grief that afflicted his mind. In his life, he had never been one to care whether he was being selfish. Recently, though, in the past couple years, things had been different. He had been happy. Fleetingly happy. This thought hit home hard, and a buzzing on the table caught his attention. It was his phone. 'How trivial,' he thought, as he placed his face in one hand, elbow on the table. Still, he pulled his phone near, and noted the caller ID. "Grace Van Pelt" he read, through again-watering eyes. For some reason, the thought struck that an answer was necessary.
"Grace?" His voice trembled, emotions threatening to give way underneath the pressure of speaking even one word.
"Hey, Jane, I have Angie. I'm on my way, we'll be there in two minutes." Her voice was cautious, careful, and somewhat empty. Patrick was too preoccupied to analyze or reassure her, as he could not even reassure himself. He swallowed as one tear rolled down his cheek. He choked up and stalled for several seconds, but was able to compose himself enough to say another word.
"Okay." More than the one word would have taken Patrick Jane an immense amount of willpower that was not currently possessed in the body so weak and fragile under the duress of loss and angst. Moments and minutes passed until the front door opened, and Patrick steeled himself for what was to happen next. His daughter, Teresa's daughter, their own flesh and blood…would come running and stumbling from the doorway, sad about something she could not yet fully understand. Patrick was not sure of how to explain it, and was not sure that he wanted to, if he could even manage to choke the words out. His body began to shake with sobs, tears rolling down his cheeks, onto his hands, streaking his arms with saline water. He saw the red-headed agent, holding the hand of his child, and Patrick lowered himself from the chair to the floor. Grace looked at the pair sadly, as the child stumbled over to her father's arms. Patrick caught the little blonde girl and held on tightly. She was his, and she would be his rock, his lifeline in the terrible storm crashing over the two of them. Angie realized something was wrong, but was still too young to understand. She just noted that Mommy was gone and everyone was terribly, terribly sad. Patrick wanted to rely on her more than he knew he could realistically.
"Thank you Grace, thank you so much for taking care of her last night," Patrick said, almost incoherently, through muffled sobs. He wiped his eyes, and stood up, taking the child in his arms. Grace nodded sadly, tears running down her face as well. Too scared to release a flood of tears, Grace said nothing, and turned around to leave. Before leaving, she sat in her car and cried. Inside the house, Patrick stood holding his daughter. He set her on the counter, and began to look for a box of tissues, but something stopped him: Angie's eyes. Looking into them, he saw Teresa. Looking into them, he could see her smiling at him, through death and through the pain he felt convulsing in his chest. Though the child resembled Patrick Jane a great deal, she had her mother's eyes. Her eyes both made Patrick feel light, and heavy. His heart lifted for the reminder, and cried out in agony over his loss. He tried to tell his child of her mother, how brave and fierce she had been. Patrick wanted to talk about Teresa's beautiful smile and tell their child how amazing her mother had been, a good agent, a wonderful mother, and his best friend. He wished to tell Angie how much he already missed her mother and how much of Teresa he saw inside her eyes, but sobs came out instead of words. He laid the child in her bed, after minutes of slow steps on stairs and silent tears. Grace would be back later to help him, he remembered her concern. They were all concerned about him, but he could only remember his friends, their friends through clouded thoughts. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he was grateful that this time he had something to live for, this time he had a daughter. Selfishly, he let grief overtake him again. He pushed thoughts of Angie away as memories of Teresa welled up inside him.
He didn't make it to the bedroom. Exhausted from sadness and an aching body, Patrick fell against the wall, and sat on the grey carpet in the hallway outside his bedroom door. He remembered meeting her, nervous trepidation at beginning a romance, a beautiful wedding with his bride in a simple gown, surrounded by loved ones, the birth of their daughter. He played back every situation in his mind, holding onto his memories as tightly as possible. Patrick sat there with his eyes closed for what seemed like an eternity. It could have been moments, minutes, but it seemed like hours. Each second ticked slower and colder, without Teresa Lisbon, Teresa Jane in the house, warming it with her presence. He eventually got to his feet, and made it to the room he used to share with his wife. Patrick managed to text Grace, so sorry, asking her to come back and help Angie. Right now, he would be selfish. He would retreat inside himself and let the pain eat at him, clawing its way through his stomach, his muscles, and his brain. Patrick would again let his demons take over, let them consume him. Yes, he would move on and care for his daughter, and live again. But not today.
"I love you," he said out loud to Teresa, desperately hoping she could hear him, that it was even possible for her to know how much he had cared about her, and still cared about her.
I love you too, the wind whispered back.
The rain started to pick up again.
Love Lives On – Mallary Hope
Tonight – FM Static
My Immortal – Evanescence
Life on the Moon – David Cook
Hurricane Drunk – Florence &the Machine
My Boy Builds Coffins – Florence &the Machine
Science & Faith – The Script