Disclaimer: I don't own The Mentalist.
A/N: Yet another tag for the Season Four finale, this one providing a bit of Jane introspection. It's a tad heavier on the show's dialogue than I'd prefer, but who am I to gainsay the muse's promptings? :-)
Also, someone please tell me that I'm not the only one flailing after seeing the promo for 5x01. Even though I know that they're just throwing shippers a bone, that doesn't really lessen my excitement.
"The boatman has heard, it has bound him
In throes of desire and love.
He's blind to the reefs that surround him,
He sees but the Maiden above.
And now the wild waters awaken
Then boat and the boatman are gone.
And this is what with her singing,
The Lorelei has done."
- "The Lorelei," by Heinrich Heine, English Translation
Firing a gun at Teresa – even one full of blanks – is one of the hardest things Jane has ever had to do. Even without all the what-ifs crowding his mind (what if she gets hurt, what if this doesn't work, what if they get caught, what if she gets hurt), he doesn't want to point a gun at her, doesn't want to pull the trigger. Frankly, he doesn't want a gun near her at all unless she's the one holding it.
Still, he's come a long way since those days when his aversion to guns was overwhelming, so he manages to master himself (deep breaths, Paddy) and do it.
He squeezes the trigger and tries not to wince.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
The moment the gun goes off, all is chaos.
Terror freezes the blood in his veins until he sees that Teresa is still breathing.
There are shouts and crashes and now he has to fire that thrice-blasted gun at Pretend Rigsby as well, and god, there are waves of agents coming his way, he has to hurry.
(No one ever said fake-murdering people in the heart of law-enforcement territory was for the faint of heart.)
Adrenaline pumps through his once-frozen veins as he throws Teresa's (not dead) body over his shoulder and rushes out of the building.
Agents are calling his name and coming after him and he needs to get out now.
(At least it means that they're buying the ruse.)
Thank god Teresa is such a tiny woman, or this would be a lot harder.
(He absently notes that she feels thinner than she had before he left, and he feels anew a wave of remorse for all the worry he's caused her recently.)
He wills the elevator to go faster.
Good! They haven't sealed the exit yet.
Out the front doors, to the car.
Unlock, put Teresa's (not dead) body in the back seat. Get in. Key in the ignition. Foot on the gas pedal.
Tires squeal on the pavement.
When they reach the safe house, Jane hauls Teresa's body indoors.
Then – and only then – does she stop playing dead.
And although he knew she wasn't dead, he feels a bit of air return to his lungs upon seeing her open her eyes.
"You think they bought it?" she asks, fingers massaging a spot on her neck.
He feels a small rush of warmth that – despite his most recent actions – she trusts him enough to show this minute weakness.
Nerves still humming, he nods in answer to her question. "Oh, they bought it."
Her brow crinkles slightly, and she says, "OK, I'm going to get changed."
Part of him wants to beg her not to leave his line of sight, while another part of him is eager for her to depart, if only so he can regain his composure.
"Hey, you alright?" she asks gently, apparently seeing something in his face.
He waves a hand limply and replies, "I'm fine. Really, I should be asking you that."
"Me?" she says. "I'm fine."
"Good, good," Jane murmurs.
She is obviously not fine, but is probably as close to fine as anyone could be under the circumstances. She's dealing with this remarkably well, his Teresa.
Teresa gives him a penetrating look. Then, frowning, she exits the room.
And Jane is alone with his thoughts.
He wonders whether Red John will have taken the bait. Unfortunately, there's nothing he can do until Red John makes his move.
He has to wait.
Jane hates waiting.
When Teresa returns to the room, accompanied by Rigsby, he accidentally meets her eyes. Unable to hold her gaze, he immediately drops his eyes to the floor. When he looks up again, he is careful to focus on Rigsby, who has just said that he's going to the store for food.
"Uh, Rigsby –" he begins.
Ever the coward, he silently begs Rigsby to stay, not to leave them alone.
Rigsby, antsy with concern for Sarah, doesn't catch Jane's mute plea.
"I know, I know, don't call Sarah. I know," Rigsby says, pulling on his coat and hat. "It's killin' me, though. She must be freaking out."
"Well, look at the bright side. Think about how happy she's gonna be when you come back to life," Jane tells the younger man, trying to convince them both.
(Against his will, his mind drifts back to a punch in the nose he'd gotten from the female agent across from him approximately two years ago.
Then his mind replays – in perfect detail, no less – Teresa's reaction to seeing him in that church after six months' absence: "God knows I'm happy you're back, it's a huge relief, but what you did? Frankly was a betrayal.")
"Huh," Rigsby snorts skeptically and exits.
Jane can't blame him. From what he knows of Sarah, happy isn't the only thing she's going to be upon finding Rigsby alive.
The air is now thick with a tension that he does his level best to ignore; or, failing that, to at least appear unaware of.
He takes refuge behind his book, trying his damnedest not to think about certain recent events. Certain recent unpremeditated words.
As he pretends to read – pretends with a desperation that belies his attempts at insouciance – he finds himself all too keenly aware of every movement of Teresa's, every breath.
"So, where'd you find this place?" she asks finally.
Unable to look up from the book – unable to meet her eyes again yet – he says, "The owner owes me poker money he'll never be able to pay back."
On a lesser man, Jane is aware, his current actions would look like a great deal like avoidance.
"Oh," she murmurs. There is a pause, pregnant with all that is not being said, before she asks tentatively, "So, that thing you said before you shot me… w-what'd you mean?"
Unable to help himself, Jane looks up.
And for once, his mind – ever-spinning with stories, plots, excuses, explanations – goes blank; utterly still.
Her face is open and oddly vulnerable, and he's sucked in despite his best efforts.
"What'd I say?" he says at last. "I was… kinda… hyped-up."
Teresa's eyes reflect – disappointment? – for a split second, shortly followed by relief, and she says, "Boy, me too. I thought at any moment we were going to get found out."
As she's been doing more and more often lately, she has graciously let the subject go; she's letting him take the lead.
"Mmm," he murmurs noncommittally.
He really doesn't deserve this woman.
And then his phone rings. Speaking of women he doesn't deserve…
It's Lorelei. (An ironically apt name for a woman whose job was to seduce him to his doom.)
Unlike the Odysseuses of this world, however, Jane doesn't need wax to stop his ears against her siren song; all he needs is the ring on his finger and the woman in front of him.
(He's a con artist, he's always led a double life. Now his heart belongs to two women; in a twisted way, it makes sense. It's at once more and nothing less than he deserves, but life has always been puzzling that way.
Two separate women possess his heart, a third (most recently) has possessed his body, while a man – if the serial killer can indeed be called a man – is in possession of his mind. It is, he allows, a most strange ménage-a-quatre. Hmm… actually that would be a ménage-a-cinq, since he's part of it.
No wonder he sometimes feels as though he has a multiple-personality disorder.)
Lisbon looks at him questioningly.
Right, the phone. Lorelei.
Fingers almost trembling with anticipation, he takes the call.