Disclaimer: I don't own The Mentalist.

Prompt #22: Grace - Jane was a skeptic, but he made the boss smile. That counted for something.

Words: 566


I like Jane. He's a pompous ass who likes toying with people way too much, but I like him.

I didn't always. In the beginning, he was too cynical, too cold, too jaded to the world. It was like he found amusement in everything I said or did, and it wasn't very professional of him. He tricked, lied, cheated and manipulated suspects into saying and doing things that made their guilt clear.

When I first met him, I didn't really like him. He used to pretend to be a psychic, something I couldn't stomach. Yolanda has always given accurate readings, and when Jane said she was deluded or lying, I couldn't help but retort.

But the years have changed my opinion of him somewhat. I've seen more than just the incorrigible con man.

He gives us real smiles when we all come back alive. It's not really noticeable to those who haven't seen it. But there's more of a glimmer in his eyes, a more relaxed curve of his lips, a dimple that doesn't show up as clearly as when he fakes the smile. Less conniving, more sincere.

He shows real fear when the boss or Wayne or Cho get backed into a corner and there's no way out. That's when his brain goes into visible overdrive, searching for the clues that will reveal the suspect's guilt and distract the killer from pulling the trigger.

He's been really worried about me ever since I shot that scumbag bastard O'Laughlin. Not overly, like Wayne and the Boss were. (I mean, therapy? Really? I'm fine) But Jane reacted the best way - he mentioned it once, then never spoke about it again. He'll shoot me concerned looks from time to time, but always covertly. He knows I hate people showing that they worry about me.

I've noticed he shoots the Boss those looks too. Normally it's when she's walking away after getting reamed out by Wainwright for something Jane did. Or after a really tough case goes cold and it gets her down. Or when a case is going nowhere after days of investigating. Or when the Boss just looks overworked, depressed, or both.

When Red John asked for Lisbon's head...Jane tried thinking of every other option before the stage-Lisbon's-kidnapping plan we finally went with. I'd never seen him so determined, or so torn. On the one hand, he was close to getting Red John. But on the other hand, he had to toy with the Boss's life, something he doesn't normally do lightly. That fact alone raised my opinion of him.

Jane tries to cheer her up. He's always done his best. The origami frog, cups of coffee, and the occasional box of strawberries that make it to her desk are little things that can poke a smile into existance on her face.

Jane cares about her. I know he does. He doesn't show it often, but it shows well enough.

I may dislike his opinions on God and psychics, and I may think his methods are wild, but I can't dislike his care for the Boss. He makes her smile.

He makes us all smile.

In this job, that's a rare gift to have.


Review please! We're getting close to the halfway mark, and to a hundred reviews!