tromana: (mentalist: the mentalist is love)
[personal profile] tromana
Title: Little Stories
Author: [livejournal.com profile] tromana 
Rating: T
Characters: Jane/Lisbon, Van Pelt
Summary: Once upon a time and after that it sucks.
Spoilers: All of Season 3
Notes: Written for the Paint It Red 2011 Ficathon.
Prompts: [livejournal.com profile] mentalistprompt: defies expectation, Paint It Red ficathon: if fairytales were real, from [livejournal.com profile] miss_peg .

Little Stories

Everybody deserves that fairytale happy ending.

That's what you believe anyway.

Call it your youthful optimism, your desire to see the people you care about happy, whatever. You can honestly say that everyone you know deserves that little slice of happiness. That one positive experience to keep the blood pumping in their veins, to ensure they remain hopeful for the rest of their lives.

That's despite your career, where you meet the scum of the earth. People who deserve to be locked away for good. Or worse, even. Then again, if they had experienced that happily ever after, then maybe, they wouldn't have headed down that path. That's something you choose to believe, anyway. If you didn't, who knows where you would land up? The depressiveness of your career path of choice would undoubtedly swallow you whole otherwise.

Not that everyone does, mind. Go off the rails when something bad happens, that is. Some people are stronger, have better resilience. They know how to get over life-changing problems without causing suffering to others.

You've seen it before and oh, how you wish you could change places with them. That way, you might be able to come to terms with everything that's happened to you of late.

But that doesn't matter. That's another story entirely.

This is about your only chance for escapism. The proof that, if you're lucky, you might just get a second (third? fourth?) chance yourself.

xxx

They've always been fond of one another. That's something that has been blindingly obvious from the start.

You and he joined the CBI around the same time. Both, coincidentally, were assigned to the Serious Crimes Unit. It was only natural that you, therefore, felt some kind of affinity towards Patrick Jane. A month isn't long, not really, in the scheme of things. Therefore, at the start, you felt like it was newcomers united.

Sometimes, you envy his ability to settle into the place. Years have been and gone and still, you occasionally feel out of place. He however, practically became part of the furniture. Always has been and you suspect, always will be. That's despite recent goings on. He'll find a way back; he always does.

But that's besides the point. Another story. Your story. You don't want to think about that, not after…

Anyway.

Lisbon's fondness for Mr. Jane has been obvious from the start. How many bosses would take the initiative to book a doctor's appointment for a sick subordinate? Not many. Most would just send them home, tell them to come back in a few days when they're feeling better. And it's not as if she's extended the same kind of treatment to the rest of the team. Is it? To Rigsby, to Cho, to yourself. Of course, she cares about you, but just not in the same way.

Even back then, when they were both so bruised and battered by the world, you thought that maybe, something could come of it.

That it was just a matter of time.

xxx

There was something about the way she smiled whenever Jane brought her coffee.

He did so, every so often. Then again, he often brought something for the entirety of the team. He was never one to actively leave somebody out; you suspect that's something to do with his slightly convoluted upbringing, but didn't say a word. At least, it was either that or his deceased wife. Whichever was responsible, it's not something you can talk about with him, even now. Both are no-go zones. Things which make him sad, uncomfortable. Make him switch on that haunted expression that very few people can get through.

In fact, the only one who seems to be able to break him out of those moods was sat opposite him, sipping out of a polystyrene cup. Things were easy, that day. Recently, there was a big break in an important case. You can remember it all too clearly. It was a serial killer, not Red John, another one. One of the many that people simply didn't care about because he didn't paint his walls with smiley faces. Therefore, Lisbon was in a good mood and that meant Jane was too. In fact, everyone was. So it wasn't quite closed yet, but you were finally making headway and that means optimism was commonplace right then.

And though Jane had very nearly screwed up the apprehension of Taylor Wyatt, the euphoria at closing a major case had lasted for days.

He'd brought her coffee, after. While you went out celebrating the closure with the others, she insisted upon staying behind. On getting the paperwork ready for Virgil Minelli. The price of power, she had claimed. It's something she says more and more often these days. Probably an excuse, simply because she'd rather not socialize without Jane there. On that occasion, Jane had, for the first time, accidentally forgotten about you and the guys. It didn't matter, you'd had pizza and beer later. He'd brought her something better than that weak, tasteless ditchwater they label as 'coffee' in the kitchenette that Lisbon would have otherwise resorted to drinking. You've heard him complain, repeatedly, about her caffeine intake, but that didn't stop him from buying her the stuff.

And after that first occasion, after getting a fix of that shy smile, he forgot about the rest of you more often. It was almost as if he were as addicted to that smile of hers as she was to the coffee itself.

Craig never did that for you. Surprise you with coffee, that is. No, he relied on the bigger statements, the more ostentatious ones. Once again, you chalk that down as something you should have known about. A sign that something was amiss.

You really should stop doing that.

xxx

Every time Red John reared his ugly head, it seemed like Jane went completely off the rails.

Lisbon, naturally, was the one to reign him back in again. Sometimes, she wasn't given the credit where it was due and it frustrated you. You know sure as hell you wouldn't be able to do her job. Not yet, anyway. It'll take you far, far longer to get where she is now than it did her.

But again, that's not the point.

The point is, Lisbon didn't have to work so tirelessly to try and save Jane from himself. She could have simply signed him off to the departmental shrink, let them work their magic. Not that they really would have helped Jane; he didn't just know every trick in the book, he'd probably written the goddamn thing as well. It wasn't just a case of her knowing that the shrink would be no good, you know it was her not wanting to give up on him. So many people in Patrick Jane's life had written him off as a lost cause and Lisbon was determined not to add her name to that long list. You know you wouldn't have had the stamina or perseverance to do such a thing. Jane always irritated you far too often whenever you were paired together for cases. Therefore, you cannot help but admire the way she reacted to everything he said like water off a duck's back. A moment's irritation and then she shifted it to one side.

Apart from Red John of course. The lingering shadow that had haunted all of you for far too long. That was something even she couldn't work to solve. The most she could do was stick a proverbial band-aid over it until it was mercilessly ripped off again. You wouldn't have even been able to manage as little as that.

You always hated Red John cases, didn't you? Almost as much as you hated Red John himself. If there was any one single person who deserved death row, it was him.

They made everyone tense and justifiably so. But it was the effect it had on your superior and the consultant that always stayed with you for the longest.

No doubt, Cho and Rigsby would have agreed too.

xxx

He saved her, several times. She saved him more times than you could even count.

Not that it was a competition. It's just, sometimes, it felt like it was. Especially when you're caught in the middle of it all.

xxx

You always hated their arguments.

They're a partnership, a pair. They work together so well. Have an understanding better than even some married couples. That's saying something. Then again, with the way they acted, they might as well have been an old married couple.

Say that to them and they'd have laughed in your face, however. Even now, after all they've been through, they'd still laugh.

She doesn't believe she understands the first thing about him. Has all but given up hope of ever doing so. As for him, well, he'd always acted as if people were expendable. As if there was one thing only that mattered: the death of Red John.

That was the cause of most of their spats. You can remember shying away whenever they were at blows with one another, mostly over their differing opinions on how to deal with the serial killer.

Secretly, you've always agreed with Lisbon's point of view. Whether or not that's because you didn't want to imagine Jane as a killer or because of the cop inside you, you don't know. Maybe it's a bit of both? Then again, being a cop didn't mean everything. Cops could become killers. Cops could even become moles for some of the worst serial killers imaginable. You learned that one the hard way.

The point is moot now. Red John is gone. Jane got his own way. As he always seems to.

But somehow, he seems to have learned from his mistakes. Realized that vengeance doesn't solve anything. It didn't bring his family back, didn't make him feel any better. If anything, it made him feel worse, simply because he actually learned that his actions had consequences on those close to him. He wasn't there to see Lisbon fall apart, not like you were. Jane didn't have to watch her pull herself back together, either. Nor did he witness the effect Craig O'Laughlin had - and still has - on you. In a way, he's lucky. Hidden away from the hurt and pain he's caused. But still aware of it, because you sure as hell have given him an earful on the few times you've seen him since he became a murderer. He went promptly to jail, almost the very moment he was charged. Was denied bail simply based on the fact he was a flight risk. Something to do with the fact of having nothing left in California for him. Of having family and close-knit friends touring the country with their carnival.

You know it's rubbish. That you're all closer to him now than his carnie friends could ever dream of being. Besides, there's Lisbon. Despite the fact that Jane went against her wishes, you know that he wouldn't go running away from her.

He just wouldn't be able to.

Though he would vehemently deny it, he's inextricably linked to her. He needs her now, she practically keeps him sane.

You always thought that Red John would be their one sticking point, the one thing that would stop them from ever seeking solace in one another's arms. Lisbon, with her moral high ground and rules and regulations. Jane, with his tricks and desperate desire for revenge. How would they ever find a way to meet in the middle?

They did. Of course they did.

Why? Because Lisbon seems to have moved on from it. Or she must know something about him, something about the situation, which means she's able to forgive him. To accept what he's done and get on with their lives together.

Funny how things can change, isn't it?

xxx

He's still in jail now, in solitary confinement for his own safety rather than that of others. After all, the majority of Jane's fellow inmates were put in there by him. Given half a chance, they'd seek revenge, the same way that Jane had sought it with Red John. You don't know when his case is going to go before a judge. None of you do. It's just a waiting game, one that feels like it's going to go on forever. And even when it does end up in court, you're dreading the outcome. The evidence is stacked sky high against him. Will it really matter just how much good he's done? What about the fact that he's sent so many guilty men behind bars? Men who would still be at large, if it wasn't for his input.

After all, he did kill a man. It was premeditated. And hell, even you knew his intentions.

Where does that put you? Lisbon? The whole of the CBI?

Somehow, you just can't bring yourself to think about it. Instead, you brush it under the carpet. You'll worry about it closer to the time. It's easier to deal with things that way. That's something this whole sorry situation has taught you, if nothing else.

Lisbon visits him as often as work allows.

You don't know anything about what's happening behind bars. Somehow, you can't imagine it being anything but painfully sweet.

After all, if he'd survived, you would never have imagined being able to do the same for Craig. Visiting him in jail, that is. Then again, he hadn't loved you like… well. Like Jane and Lisbon must love each other, even if it is only deep down and they still aren't aware of it.

Yet.

xxx

"He's been cleared. Of all charges."

There had been countless witnesses. You had the murder weapon. It had been proven that Jane was of a sane state of mind at the time.

You don't even want to ask how he managed that one, but still, your heart lifts. You can't imagine just how she feels right now.

xxx

He catches her by surprise. In the bullpen, with a bunch of the deepest red roses you've ever seen.

You're jealous, of course you are. Only a year ago, you thought it would be your husband bringing you sweet gifts into the office, for no apparent reason. Instead, it's them. They're not even together, not officially. Not as far as you know, anyway.

Besides, it's not as if they would tell you outright. Though you're more than happy to classify them as friends, Lisbon still relies on the borders of professionalism a little too much occasionally. It's probably a habit she'll never shake, but you don't mind. It's just a part of her.

Like it's a part of Jane to pull ridiculous stunts and scare the crap out of people every so often.

You watch as, embarrassed, she ushers him away to her office. She had mentioned in passing that Jane would be returning to work. Officially, he isn't a criminal and therefore, it is absolutely fine for him to continue to consult for the CBI.

Or rather, spend every waking moment in Lisbon's pocket.

Same difference, really.

Even though it shows just how completely flawed the jurisdiction system in the state of California is, you know nobody is complaining. Not this time anyway.

Least of all Jane and Lisbon themselves.

xxx

Sometimes, you wonder what could have been. If Craig hadn't been a mole for Red John. If he had actually loved you. If he had survived…

What would have been different? What would have been the same?

You know you wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a mess as you are now. If only you were better at masking your feelings.

Then again, that's wishing you're something you're not. Sometimes, you need to learn that despite the fact she's still very much your role model, you're never going to be your boss. However much you wish it so.

Life isn't made up of fairytales. You can't just wish on a star, a penny, an eyelash and get everything you want.

xxx

It doesn't take long for you to work out that the inevitable has happened. That they've finally succumbed to their feelings. Admitted to themselves that what they have isn't going to go away any time soon.

That they aren't betraying the feelings of deceased loved ones, sacrificing everything they believe in or the like. That they are just excuses, that they are just stopping themselves from having what they deserve, simply for the sake of it.

Surprisingly enough, some people do get their fairytale happy ending.

You don't begrudge them for it, how could you?

But given the odds, you would have thought it would have been you being whisked off into the sunset every single time.

Wouldn't you?

end

Date: 2011-07-12 04:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] h-loquacious.livejournal.com
Hello.

I really, really like this one, I have to say. I really, really like it, especially the ending. Seems very VP, with that slightly, IDK, self-centred thinking she'd be the more likely to get the fairytale ending of the three of them. I don't much like VP as a character anymore (she bugs me for most of S3), but I do tend to like her as a narrator for some reason, and I thought this one was particularly well done. Haven't been reading much fic lately, but I'm glad I read this one.

Date: 2011-07-12 07:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tromana.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! I agree on the Van Pelt situation - there was just something about her S3 arc that grates. Possibly the fact that she'd been in that situation before in S1 and obviously hadn't really learned from the situation.

I think this was the first time I wrote something of length from Van Pelt's POV. So yes, I can see the appeal of having her as a narrator. Something to do with the rose-coloured glasses combined with that slight self-centeredness.

Anyway, thank you for reading, especially as you're not reading much.

Date: 2011-07-13 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] h-loquacious.livejournal.com
VP's S3 arc is really just terrible. One of the worst things about an otherwise good season (IMO, although I seem to like it far more than most people). First the break up wtih Rigsby was annoyingly done (not entirely her fault, to be fair), then there was stupid O'Laughlin, where she was ridiculously naive. I have come to the decision that I could have possibly tolerated the whole mess if they'd ever done anything with her not related to her love life. But they don't. And it is tiresome. To the extent where I would not be upset if they got rid of the character, though I don't think they will. I'll stop talking about this now, otherwise this will devolve into a rant.

I've read other things from VP's POV, and I do like it. I've done a little bit of it, but not since the first season I don't think. She is an interesting narrator since she manages to be a foil to both Lisbon and Jane, which makes it all the more irritating that the show does nothing wtih her.

I'm really just not actively seeking out fic, so I only read the things that pop up on my LJ. And as I said, I did quite like this.

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