A/N: Okay, I seriously don't know how pretty much all the angsty/introspective Mentalist prompts were right at the start of the month, right up there with the fluffy Castle ones. But really, almost all of the other Mentalist prompts except the ones already posted are foolish. At least the ones I've written/planned out (which is a good chunk of them). I really don't understand how this happened. I certainly didn't write the prompts in complete chronological order. Ah well. I don't really care, it's just weird.

This one's for funbol. Hope you like it.

Title: Lead me Through the Fire

Rating: K+

Spoilers/Warnings: As long as you're caught up on the most recent eps you should be fine.

Prompt: Lead me through the fire

Summary: Be the long awaited answer to a long and painful fight. In other words, Lisbon would fix it.

xxx

Lisbon would fix it.

Yes, okay, he'd just mortally insulted the local mayor, but it was okay.

Patrick Jane had made it quite clear early on that he wasn't good at dealing with politicians.

The mayor might be in the middle of an apoplectic rage, but the consultant had achieved his goal.

He'd confirmed that Mayor Gordon had been only too aware of his wife's affair.

Jane watched in a detached sort of amusement as the mayor stormed off in search of the Agent in Charge, muttering about 'grossly unprofessional behavior' and 'wild accusations.'

Nothing would come of it though.

Because Lisbon would fix it.

She always did.

xxx

Jane leaned back on his couch, watching Minnelli storm out of the room.

Apparently Virgil hadn't appreciated how Jane had spoken to a suspect in an interrogation room.

Something about opening up the department dangerously close to a lawsuit.

Jane watched as Virgil's path took him to Lisbon's door.

She was already wearing her most diplomatic expression in preparation.

Jane smiled to himself.

She would calm Virgil down.

She would sort it out.

xxx

His car broke down.

He couldn't get to work.

It was irritating.

The case sounded interesting too.

Jane sighed and took out his cell phone.

May as well call her sooner rather than later. He'd be doing it eventually after all.

She'd come and get him if he asked nicely. Actually, she'd come get him either way, but she'd come more quickly if he asked nicely.

No way would she leave him stranded on his own. Well, unless he said something really insensitive about something she had particularly strong feelings about, which he hadn't (not for months now).

Really, unless he deliberately tried to make her angry, there was very little he could do from preventing her from saving him.

She was always so determined to fix things.

xxx

Little things, no more tea, Van Pelt having a bad day, Rigsby's apparent inability to ever find the keys to the SUV, or bigger things, dangerous things, life-threatening things. Lisbon was always there, fixing.

Even when things weren't fixable, she tried. Oh she tried.

Her unfailing optimism and naïve hope used to annoy Jane.

She'd seen so much of the world, of humanity. How could she bury her head in the sand like she sometimes seemed to?

Her willful blindness had started out as irritating.

It made Jane shake his head. Lisbon was setting herself up for heartbreak (especially where he was concerned).

But it wasn't long before he was shaking his head in affection.

Because her refusal to give up on him had somehow become endearing.

xxx

Sometimes Jane got too focused on Red John to remember to eat.

Then salads and sandwiches from the local deli magically started appearing on his couch.

He stopped sleeping again. Started prowling the CBI at odd hours to distract himself.

Lisbon coincidentally seemed to need to work nights all of a sudden.

Heck, she was the one who'd recommended his mechanic to him.

Now his car was almost reliable.

xxx

He ended up in jail. Twice.

But it wasn't a serious problem.

Lisbon fixed it.

(Or at the very least, she provided significant assistance.)

xxx

She watched Van Pelt like a hawk now that the redhead had started showed signs of spiraling out of control.

She was Rigsby's silent support.

And if Cho had ever shown any indication of needing anything, Jane was sure Lisbon would have been there for him too.

The only person she didn't seem to work overtime fixing things for was herself.

The first few times Jane noticed that particular pattern, he shrugged it off. She was a grown woman after all. That was her choice. She didn't need a keeper.

Then her constant neglect of her own needs started to irritate him, really irritate him actually (far more than her compulsive desire to save the rest of him).

It was none of his business, but Jane found himself seriously bothered by it.

Stubborn woman was going to run herself into the ground.

He'd better keep a quiet eye on her. Wouldn't want her getting herself hurt.

After all, who would fix things then?

xxx

He's back beside her. After that second brief jail stint. It's been a few months now actually. They've both come through the whole mess with their jobs somehow.

Things should be good.

And they are. On the surface at least.

Unfortunately the serial killer's still out there.

Jane's not sure what to do about that.

He tried to tell Lisbon (more than once), but she didn't believe him. Jane didn't blame her. He wouldn't want to believe himself either.

Then the serial killer came back.

Then she wanted to talk.

He managed to put her off for a while, but that can't last forever. Jane knows it's not going to be pretty when she eventually does manage to corner him.

She'll demand answers, and he won't know how to give them.

But that's not all.

Because…

He doesn't know.

It's different. Everything's different.

Since he pulled that trigger, since Red John came back.

There's a kind of subtle awkwardness between them now. He doesn't like being awkward with Lisbon. (He really doesn't like feeling like he needs to avoid her.)

She's one of the few people he almost never feels awkward with.

He's not sure how to make it better.

He's not sure how to fix that.

He's not sure she knows either.

Maybe she doesn't want to. (She's a cop at heart, no matter how much she bends the rules, and he did shoot a man).

So maybe she's not going to fix this. He doesn't know.

He's also not sure how to ask.

xxx

He's never had to ask before.

xxx

He wants to though.

He feels lost.

Lisbon always fixes everything.

Almost.

xxx

There was that one time he set the sprinklers off on the second floor.

All of Fraud and most of Crime Against Children hates him still because of that one..

Lisbon couldn't really smooth that over.

Also, Jane suspects she unofficially supports their occasional attempts at retaliation. The water balloon balanced on the attic door was a particularly nice touch.

Lisbon found him a towel at least.

Then she glanced around his attic, and her eyes turned serious.

He ran and hid.

xxx

That doesn't last long though.

Jane knows he can't hide from her forever.

He always seeks her out eventually.

He can't help it.

She's always so solid. Even when everything else changes.

After all, Tim Carter was a serial killer (or something close to it), even if he wasn't Red John.

Shooting a serial killer wasn't supposed to feel like this.

Jane doesn't know what to do about, about…

He needs… he needs…

She always fixes everything.

xxx

He feels better when he's with her. Even if it's just over a cup of tea in her office.

Even if she still looks suspiciously at him when she thinks he's not looking. (He's almost always looking.)He can feel himself entwining himself more deeply into her life.

He's still on his journey, trying to fulfill his goal. He wants Red John gone. He needs that.

He's going to follow that path, whatever she says about it. But he also doesn't want her to leave.

He's starting to like having her walk beside him.

And he's terrified that he might need her.

Actually, it might be even worse than that.

Much, much worse.

Her constant fixing things might have made everything worse.

xxx

She's not invisible.

She's not perfect.

She's broken.

She's strong.

She's stubborn.

She's smart.

She's mistrustful.

She's funny.

She's fascinating.

She's possibilities.

And most frightening of all, he wants her.

She fixes almost everything, even the loneliness Jane tells himself he doesn't feel.

xxx

But there's still Red John.

That worries him.

Because what happens after Red John? If there is an after? What happens if they catch him?

He wasn't supposed to have to worry about after.

But he's started lately. He can't help himself.

He's been wondering just how much she might be able to fix.

xxx

The end