AN: This is my first Mentalist fanfic, but half an hour ago I finished watching Fugue in Red, and this had to get out if I was going to sleep tonight. Please review, I'd like to know if I've got his voice right.


It didn't feel like a door opened or like a flood. It was a quiet horror show in his mind. Everything that was gone simply reappeared like a restored computer file, not jumbled or corrupted by its brief absence but crisp, and fresh, and excruciating. It was too much. It was too, too much. For one final, blissful moment, there was numbness before he became reacquainted with the pain and the guilt. Oh, god.

Jane didn't notice his knees had buckled until Lisbon caught him, gently lowering him to the floor. He lashed out, pushing Lisbon away hard enough to make her stumble, but she caught herself before she fell. Blinded by tears he'd held in check ever since he'd been released from the hospital where he'd been committed, he couldn't see her face, but he knew it would hold surprise, and hurt, and guilt, and sympathy. He knew it because he knew her now, again.

"You couldn't leave it be!" Patrick heard himself shouting. "Dammit, I was happy!" A new wave of guilt struck him. He'd been happy without Angela and Charlotte. He'd forgotten them. He couldn't breathe past the sobs. "I was happy," he moaned brokenly, curling in on himself in the doorway. "How could I be happy?" Lisbon sat down next to him quietly and put a gentle hand on his shoulder. She'd tried to offer him comfort before, in the years he'd known her, but he'd never accepted it. Just this once, he thought desperately. It's Lisbon. I can be weak just this once. He turned slightly towards her, and she wrapped her arms around him like a benediction, like she could protect him.

"I'm sorry," she whispered gently. "I know it's not fair for me to show you this, but I was afraid of what you might do if you were alone when you remembered." Part of his shattered heart was ground into powder by her words. She'd been afraid for him. He'd disrespected her and betrayed her trust (hell, he'd even grabbed her ass) but still she feared for him.

The frayed tatters of his resentment melted like morning fog beneath the sun. He'd never been able to stay mad at Lisbon. She was his savior, the closest he'd ever come to meeting a saint. Dr. Miller may have pulled him back from suicide, but it was Lisbon who got in his face and refused to allow him to return to the darkness, who gave him purpose, who knew him and still accepted him. He clung tightly to her deceptively delicate frame and gave into the grief.

He didn't know how much later it was that he regained control and released her with murmured thanks. His head was pounding and his neck and shoulders were cramped. Lisbon stood and helped him to his feet with a weary but fond smile. "C'mon. Let's head back to the office. I'll make you some tea."

Patrick remembered why he loved this woman.