Disclaimer: I do not own the brilliance that is The Mentalist.
A/N: My first Mentalist fanfic. Hope you enjoy! A million thanks to my star beta Melissa for her awesome work.
The incessant ringing of her cell phone jarred her from a fitful sleep. Lisbon groaned as she rolled over and rummaged around the table for the device, buried beneath a mountain of Kleenex. It stopped ringing and she almost relaxed and drew back, but then it began again. Finally she located the phone and flipped it open without looking at the caller ID.
"Lisbon," she croaked.
"Open the door."
"Yes, it's me," he said. "May I come in?"
She coughed. "No. Go away."
"Look, I know you're not up to receiving guests, but that's why I didn't send Rigsby. Cho's leading the team in your absence, and Van Pelt would be much too eager to play nurse. So you get me."
"Go away," she repeated. She pulled herself into a sitting position, looking around the mess that used to be her living room. There was no way she would allow anyone, let alone Jane, to see her and her apartment in such a state. "Please," she added weakly, in a last ditch effort to make him leave.
"Now, Lisbon, don't be like that," Jane said. "Aha!" There was a clicking sound. "Your lock is really easy to pick, you know. Might want to get that changed."
She jumped up quickly – too quickly. Lisbon immediately felt the room start to spin and she dropped her hands to the side of the couch, trying to regain her bearings. When she looked up a minute later, she saw Jane standing in her doorway, watching her closely.
He grinned. "Hi."
"What are you doing here?" she asked blankly. "Get the hell out of my apartment."
"Oh, Lisbon," Jane simpered, stepping across the threshold. "Today you're all bark and no bite. Next time say it like you mean it."
"You better believe that I mean it," she muttered angrily. "And you could at least close the door."
Jane kicked the door shut behind him. "Let's start over. Good afternoon, Lisbon. How are you?"
She narrowed her eyes. "Don't try me, Jane."
"No, I won't," he agreed. "I can see you're too sick to have that adequate state of mind required to deal with such persistent fake-psychics such as myself."
Lisbon blinked. "What?"
"What?" he repeated innocently.
She sighed. "Never mind. What are you doing here?"
"Oh, nothing really. Just taking a break. The team's got a case; it'll keep them busy for awhile." He made his way into her living room and she could practically see his smile widening cheekily when his eyes landed her makeshift bed on the couch.
"Shouldn't you be helping them?"
He turned. "They'll be fine. It's a straightforward case: wife murders husband because he did something immoral – cheating, stealing, something like that. They'll figure out. Besides, I thought someone should stop by with chicken soup. I've heard that's what people feed to the sick."
"You didn't bring anything with you," she pointed out.
He looked down at his hands. "Ah, you're right. Must have forgotten to pick that up on the way. Terribly sorry, Lisbon."
She closed her eyes, trying to ignore the onslaught of a pounding headache. She could feel the blood rushing to her brain and her sinuses were about to explode.
"I'm not going away, you know."
Her eyes flew open. Jane was now standing right in front of her, still grinning. "Jane," she said with patience she did not feel, "if you don't leave right now, I swear I will dig my gun out from this trash pile and shoot you myself."
He considered her a moment, then said, "Wow, you look terrible."
"Thanks," she snapped, though she knew it was true. Her ponytail had mostly fallen out so her dark hair hunk lank around her face and last she had checked, she had dark circles under her eyes that she suspected were still there. Her entire face felt puffy and she could practically feel her eyes glazing over.
Jane stepped forward and pressed his hand to her forehead. She drew a sharp breath at the shock of how cold his fingers were. After a moment he pulled back. "Aw, Lisbon. You're really sick, aren't you?"
She sighed, closing her eyes again, resigning herself to the fact she couldn't make him leave. "And what was your first clue?"
"What was your last temperature?"
"Uh…I don't know." She rubbed her eyes as she opened them. "100-something."
"I'd guess 102 right now," he said. His back was to her and he was rummaging through the Kleenexes on the table. "Here." He turned back around and she saw the thermometer in his hand. "Open wide, here comes the train!"
"Jane-" She tried to protest, but as soon as she opened her mouth, he stuck the thermometer inside. She glared at him indignantly as she waited for the reading.
"102.1," he announced after it beeped thirty seconds later. "You should probably sit down. Do you have any acetaminophen?"
Lisbon gestured vaguely at the Kleenex-covered table as she sank to the couch, her head in her hands. The headache was getting worse and her entire body ached.
"It's just the flu, Lisbon," Jane said gently, sitting next to her and placing his hand on her shoulder. Normally she would have found both his tone and gesture patronizing, but she was too exhausted to care. "There's no need to worry. You'll be better in no time." He squeezed her shoulder and then moved his hand. "Come on," he said. "You should take these."
She looked up and saw he was holding the pill bottle in his hand. "You know these are going to make me sleep."
Jane stood up. "Don't worry about that. I'll get you something to drink. You should lie down."
"You are not staying here once I'm asleep," she replied, annoyed.
He just smiled as she swung her legs over the couch. The familiar feeling of being unnaturally cold returned and she knew the chills and shaking wouldn't be far behind. She reached down for one of the blankets and pulled it to her chest. It did nothing to alleviate the cold.
"And I'll bring you another blanket," he added. He had been watching carefully. She couldn't help but be slightly embarrassed by Jane's persistent attention. He left without asking where he might find blankets, but he returned less than a minute later carrying what looked like her entire supply of extra bedding, along with a glass of water. He dropped the pile on the floor next to the couch, set the water on the table, and then picked up the top blanket, an afghan.
"Oh – no," she protested when he began to lay the blanket over her. Despite her illness, it would be a cold day in hell before she let Jane dote on her. Lisbon reached for the blanket. "I'll do that."
He smiled and dropped the afghan. "Mind if I make tea?" He was already halfway to the kitchen before he added, "I'll make you some, too."
"Yeah, sure," she muttered, rearranging the blankets. "Whatever." Lisbon opened the pill bottle and took two of the tablets. Then she lay back, picking up a second blanket and throwing it over herself. She pulled out a pillow from under her back, trying to get comfortable.
"Here," she heard a few minutes later. She felt the shift of weight on the couch as Jane sat down and the gentle thud of the mug being set on the table. "I didn't put anything in it, but I brought the sugar cubes over."
"Which tea bags did you use?" she asked, as she struggled to pull herself back up. Jane placed one of the blankets around her shoulders before she could stop him. "Thanks," she conceded. Lisbon wrapped her hands around the warm mug and inhaled the rising steam, trying to catch the scent. "Chamomile?"
He shrugged. "It seemed appropriate. It's supposed to be soothing."
"If you say so," she said, taking a tentative sip. It seemed tasteless, but she didn't feel like adding sugar. She sniffled, feeling her nose start to run again. "Damn it."
"Here," he said, passing over the Kleenex box and taking the mug from her hands. "Let it all out," he advised as she blew her nose.
"Ugh," she groaned, wiping her nose. "I hate being sick."
"I know," he said simply. He placed his hand over hers and looked at her concernedly. "You're shivering."
"I know," she mimicked, frustrated by the weakness of her own body. She tried to take another sip of tea, but her hands were shaking too badly to hold the mug. "Damn it," she repeated.
"Come here," he offered gently, setting down his own mug. She threw him a skeptical look. "You need more than the blankets. You need body heat."
"Don't touch me!" she snapped.
"Lisbon…" he drawled, ignoring her and moving closer to her on the couch. "Your body is trying to tell you what you need. Just let me help."
"Jane, I swear if you-"
"Yes, yes, I know about the gun. Ignore that impulse for now. Just give in…you know you want to…"
She sighed but didn't move away. "You're trying to hypnotize me, aren't you?"
"Of course not," he assured her as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and drew her in to his body. She could feel the heat radiating from his chest. "Of course not. Go to sleep now, Lisbon. Give into the drugs. It's okay. I'll be here when you wake up."
She shot him a look. "You better not be."
"No, of course not," he agreed. "Just go to sleep, Lisbon. Sleep…sleep…"
"You are hypnotizing me, aren't you?" she muttered, pulling the blanket closer around her body. She felt Jane's arm tighten around her, enveloping her in a warm cocoon. She sighed, feeling the drugs already taking effect as the tension slowly receded from her body.
"That depends." His smile widened to a grin when he saw her eyes had finally closed. "Did it work?"
A/N: Thanks for reading. Please review!