Okay, my friends- here is the first chapter of my Christmas fic... I don't think it will be very long, I think maybe two or three chapters… no, that's wrong, more like three.
This is some kind of teaser, not very long. I planned it so romantically: Jane and Lisbon snowed in in a freaking log cabin, some delicious smut… well, the angst kept intruding, so this is not a happy little fic. But it will have a happy ending, and it will GO TO M EVENTUALLY, so be warned.
There's not much plot involved, it's more like a quiet coming to terms. Just a little hopefulness in times of confusion.
I don't know how fast I will be able to update, but with four kids and a husband who works for the church I'm insanely busy around Christmas- but chapter two is almost finished, I do my best! Hope you like it… don't expect too much, it's just a silly something! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own "The Mentalist" and I don't make money from fan fiction.
Prince of Peace
Lisbon looked at Jane out of the corner of her eye. He stared at the giant Christmas tree in the hotel's foyer with an almost childlike fascination, and she couldn't help smiling beneath her breath. No matter what pranks he pulled, how irreverently and mischievously he played her in their investigations- he had something pure, something so deeply innocent about him that she could never stop looking at him.
She worried her lower lip with her teeth to cover up the burst of loss inside her heart, for she had no doubt that the world could see it.
He was taking out his damn cell phone again, no doubt checking the incoming calls for the umpteenth time. The more days went by since he'd last seen Lorelei, the more nervous he got, and she had noticed. There was always the risk that Lorelei wasn't as smart as she and Jane were thinking, that she couldn't escape Red John's wrath.
Lisbon had a strong hunch about what was happening, and she knew Jane was waiting for Lorelei to return to spill the rest of her knowledge about the serial killer she'd adored.
It hurt, and she didn't know why. No, that was wrong- she didn't want to look at the why. She just couldn't, it would make her crumble, she had enough to do with her fear and her worries that one day he would simply leave, without telling her. The day she would have outlived her purpose for him, wouldn't be useful for his chase any longer.
She knew he cared, wasn't a heartless robot who would gladly discard her as soon as he couldn't use her to reach his main goal any longer.
But no matter what happened: Red John was stronger. And there was no way she could bud in there.
To make a bad thing worse, she was embarrassingly jealous, dammit. She had no idea how deep Jane's attraction to Lorelei truly went, but her natural mistrust in her own attractiveness didn't make wondering any easier.
Never in her life had she really wanted to be the pretty little girl. She had flirted, sure, but had never spent her days in front of her mirror contemplating her own looks. Now she did, and no matter how hard she looked- she never liked what she saw. She had confidence in her gun, her tackling abilities, her investigation skills, and most of all her team.
But her talent to look tempting in a dress? Not so much.
She might be able to bear if Jane was falling for Lorelei, but if Red John's ex-minion took him away from her, made him leave the CBI where Lisbon could be close to him? She couldn't tolerate that.
She growled low in her throat, startling the hotel-owner who was still chattering without taking a break, and forced herself to take her silly thoughts from the more than unwelcome topic. She was not a frilly damsel in distress. She didn't need all these complications.
"Jane," she barked, "don't touch that."
He released the shiny golden Christmas bauble he had been fingering, giving her a guilty little smile.
Lisbon looked at the hotel owner and nodded in quiet dismissal.
"That would be all, Mr. Trenton. Thank you for your assistance in our investigation."
"Oh no," the red-faced little guy beamed, "it's me who has to be grateful- you solved the case so fast and discreet, hardly disturbing our everyday procedures. But I still can't believe it, he seemed like such a nice..."
Sensing the next elaborate speech coming, Lisbon interrupted him quickly.
"No problem, Mr. Trenton... we need to go home now. It's two days until Christmas and we have plans."
Plans. She snorted mentally. Hers involved a bottle of red wine, Chinese take-out and bad TV-shows.
"I hope the snow won't give you any problems," Trenton cooed, "it's a LOT this year, I can't remember us getting that much snow in decades..."
Lisbon looked out of an oversized window and knew what he was talking about. The sky was still buzzing with huge white flakes, the ground covered with a knee high layer of pristine snow. It had snowed for days now, and it didn't look like clearing up.
They were in the upmost north of California, but still that amount of snow was unusual. Which was the reason why the team had headed out this morning, while she had stayed to tie some loose ends. Out of an unnamed reason, Jane had insisted to stay, too, and she had grumpily agreed in the end. She didn't like it, though. She wanted the whole team safe and sound in Sacramento- it was Christmas after all.
She said her goodbye to Mr. Trenton and walked over to Jane, who was gingerly touching another delicate glass bauble.
"Jane," she growled, "why can't you just look at it, dammit?"
"It's unbelievable that something so filigree is real, so I need to touch it to make sure. Isn't it beautiful, Lisbon? Why don't you let some Christmas magic into your life?"
When he looked at her, she realized that he didn't have any plans, too. It made her smile sadly at him, out of instinct. They were two lost souls stranded somewhere in the Neverland.
She had tried to reach Tommy countless times, but he was obviously roaming the country with Annie like he often did. Her other two brothers were busy, and it wasn't as if they regularly spent the holidays together. And Jane? He had been lost as long as she knew him.
She resisted the urge to take his hand and pull him after her like a resisting child, and her smile deepened on its own.
"Let's get out of here, before we are snowed in completely."
"Well, that would be a romantic ending to this charming investigation," he chuckled, but followed her willingly.
She knew he didn't really want to stay here-it could make him miss Lorelei's call.
"Charming little settlement." he remarked while they made their way to her car through worryingly huge piles of snow.
Lisbon growled softly. She hated the cold. Maybe this winter was the ideal occasion to travel somewhere hot, to a place where she could take a swim in the lukewarm ocean. She pulled her coat tighter around her shaking frame. Time to go home to the longest soak in the hottest tub humankind had ever known.
The car's interior was freezing, and out of an unknown reason the heater didn't work properly. Lisbon cursed under her breath, which was already forming a white cloud in front of her lips. Winter, Christmas, she was fed up with all of it.
The sight was bad, too many freaking snowflakes everywhere, but she managed to find the right turn with her fine sense of direction. Still, she was nervous and irritated, haunted by a sense of evil foreboding. They were not going to make it. They HAD to make it.
It didn't help to calm her down that Jane was tense and restless, his body poised in anxious expectation.
Snow. SNOW. Still more snow, piling up left and right of the street, taking sight and hearing. She dodged some heaps that almost blocked the street.
Until there was one she couldn't dodge.
She tried once, without success, the tires slithering on the smooth surface. She was about to try again when Jane spoke.
She looked at him, breathing harshly.
"If you try again," he said calmly, "you'll get us stuck, and we'll be freezing to death inside this car in no time. Let's turn around and go back to the hotel. Maybe they have two rooms for us, and we can simply wait the weather out."
She knew she pouted, but she couldn't help it, her lips groping for words.
His gaze rested on her, almost peacefully.
"It's not as if any of us had plans for Christmas."
She looked at him, and suddenly felt like crying.
"We can't, we- I have to get us out."
"I know you want to make everything right for everyone but yourself, Teresa. It's the way you're wired. But I'm fine with this. Nothing is waiting for me in Sacramento. Let's turn around. Okay?"
Lisbon fidgeted with the steering wheel, stubbornly refusing to look at him. But in the end, it couldn't be helped. He was right.
With a sigh, she turned the car and headed back to the hotel.
They were actually lucky they made it back, and Jane breathed a sigh of relief when he pushed the hotel's front door open to let Lisbon enter first , warmth hitting his icy cheeks.
Trenton waited for them at the reception, his face almost sorrowful. The burly hotel manager didn't hide his feelings one bit, which made him easily readable for Jane.
He gave Trenton a bright smile. It was a lesson he had learned well: never anger someone who could still be useful to you.
"I'm so sorry," Trenton sighed, "street conditions just came in over the radio, I'm afraid you are stuck with us for the next days."
Jane heard Lisbon's low growl behind him, felt her restless energy, her wish to escape the whole situation. He knew how much she'd hate to spend Christmas with him, and he could understand her. Every time she was alone with him, the feelings she had hardly explored yet hurt her more.
And he couldn't help- because he had to pretend to be cold and unfeeling, when he just wanted to burst from the tension. After all these years, he was still the great pretender.
He looked at Trenton and allowed his smile to deepen.
"No problem, Mr. Trenton. It's not as if you could influence the weather. We're okay. Just give us two of your rooms, please, I bet agent Lisbon is rather tired now."
When he looked at her he caught her rolling her eyes, which always made him grin like a little boy. Despite the tangle of complications they dealt with every day she was simply his favorite person. There was no one he felt safer, warmer, more at home with than her.
But he had only this one chance to get his life back on track- through Lorelei. He absently checked his cell phone again. He knew she would call soon, he simply knew it, and his instincts never betrayed him. The notebook with his list of suspects burned a hole into his pocket, and again he had the urgent, unpleasant feeling that he didn't have time for any of this. A snowed-in Christmas with agent Lisbon of all people was the worst possible idea right now.
Trenton still didn't look like a happy little camper.
"I'm... I'm so very sorry, Mr. Jane, Agent Lisbon, but we're packed due to the holidays, I'm afraid... the only accommodation I could offer is one of our log cabins, over there in the hills, within walking distance. The problem is just that there- well, we have only one vacancy at the moment, and the cabin in question has only a single bedroom. But... uhm... the bed is king sized!"
The poor man blushed fiercely, and Jane smiled amicably.
"Oh yeah," Lisbon sighed, "when we're already stuck in this why not doing it right- hand over the keys, Mr. Trenton."
The visibly relieved hotel manager offered the keys and gave them directions. Lisbon marched out of the hotel, giving her perfect backside an enticing sway.
"Come on, Jane. Agent Lisbon is rather tired now."
This was only short just the "setting-up" for the story, but more to come soon! I hope you liked it, and please, give me feedback!