A/N: For cifre, who prompted J/L: "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh. Otherwise they'll kill you." Not gonna lie, this prompt has been giving me trouble. But I think it has worked out. I hope it has at least.
"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh. Otherwise they'll kill you" (Oscar Wilde).
He liked making her laugh.
It was so much better than making her angry.
Sometimes it was hard though.
Especially if he was going for a full out chuckle, and not just that amused little smile of hers, or that thing her eyes did in his direction sometimes.
Most of the time he counted both of them as laughing anyway, because at the end of the day he figured they were close enough.
And if he didn't, he'd never get anywhere.
Because unfortunately he didn't always have that much to make her laugh about.
He just wished he did.
Most of what he told her could, would, should make her angry, or worse, sad.
Some of it definitely did.
He tried not to do that though.
Better to make it a joke.
Better to keep it light.
Off the cuff comments she could laugh off.
"Obviously he's guilty. He's wearing a purple tie."
"You seem to have things well in hand, so I think I'll take this opportunity to get reacquainted with my couch."
"You guys are all such cops. Right down to your closed case doughnuts. Doesn't being such an obvious stereotype concern you?"
"People always have reasons for their affairs, Lisbon. I'm not judging them. I just need to make sure their reasoning didn't include murder. And so do you."
"Ribsy's new haircut looks like he walked into a barber and asked for the Mad Men special."
"Of course I like you Lisbon. Who else will make sure I don't end up getting beaten up by an angry mob of murder suspects?"
Those were the ones that he said in a breezy tone, head tilted to the side, eyes twinkling, sometimes even a grin.
He kept his language as absurd as possible. His tone dry.
Lisbon had a wicked sense of humour of her own.
Jane knew that she liked to spar, tease, play.
He did too.
Sometimes he loved talking to her.
When he could make her laugh.
If he didn't keep it light, it didn't work.
She didn't laugh.
Mostly because it was impossible to make some truths funny.
No matter how much you wanted to.
He still told them to her anyway sometimes.
Because he had to.
Because he was sick of carrying around all the guilt.
Because she deserved to know.
(Or maybe even because he cared enough about her, respected her enough to want to tell her the truth.)
And he had to watch her eyes fill with pain. A mixture of despair, frustration and anger.
He hated himself for putting it there.
He was already very used to hating himself
"I'm going to kill Red John, and you're not going to stop me. I'm going to cut him open and watch him bleed."
"If this job doesn't get me closer to Red John, it's of no use to me."
"Saint Teresa, needs to save everyone, but walks around with blinders on rather than acknowledge the things that're too difficult to see."
"One of these days Rigsby and Van Pelt are going to find each other again; what will you do then?"
"Minnelli has a drinking problem, but he's getting help. I thought you deserved to know."
"No, it's not that here isn't anything you can do. There isn't anything that you will do. Because you work for the government machine, and you're going to bow to its rather than stick your neck out this time since you know you're already on thin ice with the boss. There's nothing shameful about it, Lisbon. It's human nature."
"I'm not a good person, Lisbon. Before my wife and children were murdered I lied and cheated and swindled innocent people. People like you."
"I wish I could change, but I can't."
"I hate to burst your bubble, but Red John's not dead."
"Yes, it turns out I shot the wrong man. But he wasn't a nice man..."
And those were the ones he dared say.
There were others he dared not.
They really weren't funny either.
And they might not make her hate him (sometimes he's not sure she has that in her), but they would tear her apart.
Even apart from her, if he actually said them out loud, those truths might kill him. Even if her hand wasn't directly responsible.
"I like making you laugh. I like your smile."
"I like it when you're happy."
"I don't want you to get hurt."
"I used to think all cops were the same, the same prejudiced, half-blind, self-righteous, power-hungry morons. And then I met you."
"You might be the only person on this earth I genuinely care about.
"I wish a lot of things were different."
"I wish I could give up this mad quest for vengeance. But I can't. I won't."
"Not even for you."
And the most terrifying truth of all, the one that sometimes kept him awake at night, frightening him into a panic.
"I won't change. I won't. But sometimes I wish you would convince me.
"Sometimes I hope that it's possible."
"Could we work together?"
"Could we compromise?"
"Could you help me?"
"Can I trust you?"
Jane sometimes hated her for doing this to him.
Things were so much simpler before.
Before he had to face her truth.
He was facing it now.
And he definitely wasn't laughing.
(Somehow making her laugh was all that made it bearable.
He had to hope that someday she would learn the trick.)