Disclaimer: I do not own the Mentalist or anything associated with it. This short fic is written purely for entertainment; I am making no profit from it save for the betterment of my writing skills.
A/N: Lisbon is going to have a lot to deal with this coming season. And while I think she'll try to push all of those issues down, they're bound to surface one way or another.
As this is my first attempt at a Mentalist fic, constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated.
In the summer after Jane shot Red John, Lisbon had strange dreams.
She walked down the garden path to find Jane sitting at a small table, a top hat perched atop his blonde head of curls.
"Lisbon, Lisbon, Lisbon," Jane-the-Mad-Hatter said, shaking his head in fond condescension. "You really need to stop taking on the world's troubles. Sugar?"
"Excuse me?" Lisbon asked.
"For your tea. Would you like any sugar?"
"No. And I don't want any tea."
"Of course you want tea," Jane chided her, pouring some into her thin china cup. "It's good for you. You really ought to take it with milk and sugar."
"No. No milk, no sugar," Lisbon said in exasperation. "Are you incapable of listening?"
"Fine," Jane sniffed. "Have it your way. But you could do with a little sweetness in your life."
"I don't need 'sweetness'," Lisbon retorted, "I need the truth. Why did you do it, Jane?"
"Drink your tea, Lisbon, it'll go cold," Jane commented, his eyes sad. "There's little worse than a cup of cold tea, you know."
Almost against her will, Lisbon felt her mouth quirk up in a half smile and she lifted the cup to her lips. She took a sip and…
She was falling. Down, down, down…
Shrill voices pierced her eardrums.
"Ding, dong, the Witch is dead! Which old witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding dong the Wicked Witch is dead!"
Lisbon stared around in disbelief at the munchkins dancing in a circle about Jane.
"Ah, Lisbon," he said cheerfully. "So good of you to join me! These fine people are hosting a celebration in honor of yours truly."
Lisbon just stared at him. The usually immaculately dressed man was still wearing a three piece suit, but this one was made of blue-and-white checked gingham. And on his feet…
"Are those ruby slippers?" she asked, unable to stifle a snort.
"Don't knock 'em until you try 'em," Jane remonstrated her. "They're really quite comfortable. Besides, you're hardly one to talk."
Lisbon shook her head in amusement. How gullible did he think she was? That was practically the oldest trick in the…
Oh, Sheep Dip.
Glancing down, she discovered that, as she had feared, she was decked out in that pink monstrosity of a bridesmaid's dress that she'd never had to wear.
"I do like the tiara, though," Jane went on. "It adds a nice touch to the whole ensemble."
"What have I done to deserve this?" Lisbon moaned quietly.
"And the wand isn't bad either."
"What? I was merely admiring your accessories."
"Don't give me that innocent look," Lisbon said, suddenly feeling inexplicably angry. "You did this, I know you did this."
Jane opened his mouth to say something, only to be drowned out by one of the munchkins.
"…we've got to verify it legally…"
Stepping closer to Jane, she hissed, "I should have known. You always said you'd kill the Witch if you found him. I just thought… I don't know what I thought. I was stupid."
Jane's smile dropped. "Not stupid, Lisbon, just… hopeful."
"Stupid," Lisbon repeated dully. "I don't know why I even care. It's always been your right to throw your life away."
"I had to, you know that," Jane said quietly.
"There's always a choice," Lisbon countered, trying to ignore the bitter feeling of betrayal welling up in her.
"At least have a cup of tea with me for old times' sake," Jane said coaxingly.
"It won't change anything, you know," she told him.
He gave her a small, tight smile. "I know."
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Lisbon reached out her hand and turned off her alarm clock.
Another day After. If she were the whimsical sort (like Him), she'd wish that she had a pair of ruby slippers of her own, that it was possible to return to a home (a normal) that never was just by clicking her heels. (To turn back time.)
But Lisbon had always been the practical sort.
Shaking the wisps of the strange dream from her head, she prepared for another day of work. For some reason, her hand went towards the cupboard where she kept her lone box of tea. Catching herself in the act, Lisbon determinedly changed direction in mid-air and pulled out the coffee instead.
And if she could still taste the tea on her tongue, well, the coffee would take care of that.