Semi-Precious: a Blood and Sand 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.

Something was up with Jane.

He keeps asking me to drink tea when he knows full well I like coffee.

And something is up with me, because I keep agreeing even though I prefer coffee.

It's recent, this urge to humor him and is a result of a change I'm sensing within him. There's just something so sad, yet peaceful about him these days, like he's somehow gained equilibrium.

I guess on some level I'm scared of doing anything that may upset that. Because I can't remember the last time I saw Jane so...well, himself; his wise yet carefree self.

Certainly not since Kristina's disappearance.

I also can't remember the last time we were so relaxed with each other either. Like no promises of death or ultimatums of jail were ever exchanged between us.

Certainly not since he shared his plot for revenge with me almost three years ago.

There is still darkness within those sea colored eyes, and I think there always will be. But it's no longer all encompassing like it was last year.

Strange, since he insists that Red John is still alive.

I mean, if he really believes that wouldn't he be more on edge, at least as obsessed as he was? Or could it be that killing the wrong guy gave him some perspective, made him realize if he was wrong about thinking he had Red John, then he could also be wrong about revenge making anything better.

That is, if Timothy Carter is in fact not Red John, which I'm still not convinced of. While I'm in no way happy with Jane having killed a man, the prospect that he's finally finished with his vengeance and is still in one piece does have its appeal. Though a part of me knows that's probably just wishful thinking. Hence the fear, hence the humoring.

I feel like we're in a bubble. A beautiful bubble where he gives me a piece of quartz he found and I keep it instead of throwing it away, like it's something precious, when it's only semi-precious.

A bubble where I agree that I could in fact make a necklace out said stone instead of mocking him for his sentimentalism and being insulted by his presumption that I need a relaxing hobby.

A bubble where, as he falls asleep next to me on the boat on our way back to the mainland, I let him lean against me instead of shoving him awake like I want to. No, not I need to.

But I don't. I sit perfectly still, looking back at the island we left, as if completely unaware of him flush against my side, unaware of his arm caught between us, when on the inside I'm relishing the contact. Reveling in the feeling of sharing the same air, the breathing space in this invisible bubble we're in, for once feeling happy, safe even.

It's a paradox as the fear is still there. Because I learned at a very young age that bubbles aren't meant to last. They're bound to burst someday, leaving behind tearful drops, the only proof of their existence before those too evaporate into thin air, never to be seen again.

I force myself to push that thought away and run my fingers across the jagged edge of the rock in my pocket, dig the pads of my fingers into it.

As the boat gets closer to the mainland, the waves get stronger and the jarring rouses him.

Jane glances at me sleepily then smiles bemusedly when he realizes he had been practically using my shoulder as a pillow. I roll my eyes at his raised eyebrow as the boat comes to a stop at the dock.

I climb out wordlessly before offering my hand to help him out as well. He accepts and his hand is warm from being stuck between us while he was asleep. It had been cold when he'd given me the quartz.

I'm still holding it in my other hand in my pants pocket.

He gives me a big smile. Like I just did him a huge favor when all I did was help him off the boat.

"Would you like some tea when we get back?"

I answer without thinking.

"Sure, why not?"

His grin softens into something more meaningful.

He's so weird, I think, as we walk to his car; another concession I've been making more often.

He drives, humming lowly to a tune playing on my favorite jazz station. I keep palming the translucent stone in my pocket and look out the window trying to control the lump that suddenly forms in the back of my throat.

I doubt I'll make a necklace out of it. I already have one that I never take off.

But I'll keep it as a souvenir.

Even if our bubble bursts, I'll have proof that it did in fact exist.

Author's note:

Hello everyone. I'm extremely sorry for those who've been waiting on my "Mend" sequel. I am working on it, I swear, but I've been so busy writing reviews for this season that I barely have time for anything else. Plus I went through a "Mentalist is depressing me" stage where I could barely stand to read or write fanfics. But this story wrote itself after that yesterday's lovely episode. Hopefully it'll break my curse. I'd be very grateful if you let me know what you think.