Another sad one. Geez, you'd think I was depressed. Lol, I should be studying Japanese, but these plot bunnies keep attacking me. I'll try to get a happier one out soon. This takes place after Jane kills Red John and he is now in prison for life (even if I'm pretty sure California has the death sentence, but for this please just go along…). Inspired by a song of Kasey Chambers, specifically this line:

"You can turn off the TV and go about your day. But just cause you don't see it, it don't mean it's gone away."

Don't own 'em. Posted without any re-reading so let me know of any mistakes. Thanks!

Exist

Patrick Jane's days were tragically predictable. At least to him. The guards would argue that this man, dealt a bad hand by life, didn't belong here. But since he had been stuck there, their lives had definitely livened. Jane was the go-to guy if anyone wanted to know anything. He didn't snitch—he was an open book. Open to the other inmates, to the guards. Of course, sometimes he got solitary when his tricks caused too much trouble. But mostly he wasted away the day. Small tricks, but nothing surprising. No mysteries to solve. Except maybe what the special ingredient of the cafeteria's meatloaf was. He was pretty sure he knew that, too, though he was trying to forget…

The guards and the inmates were continuously surprised by the lack of regard the man took in his own safety when he had first joined them. He had made some cheeky comment to a ringleader of a gang within the prison and had gotten severely beaten.

That was the only time Patrick Jane had had a visitor.

The guards knew that people constantly tried to see him, but the man had refused to meet with any of them. When one burly guard turned away a particularly beautiful redhead for the third time in a month, he couldn't help thinking to himself that this Mr. Jane was a dumbass. Who turns away a pretty girl like that?

One who had given up life, that's who.

Three specific people never gave up trying to visit, though they did come infrequently.

But when Jane was laying in a bed in the med-center, a petite brunette came requesting to see him. It was the first anybody in the prison had seen of her. She had calmly sat, waiting to see if Jane would see her. The burly guard rolled his eyes. No way would Jane see this one. If he turned down the other chick…

He was surprised when his co-worker came back, motioning for the woman to follow.

She hadn't stayed long and no one had been close enough to hear the few words that were spoken. There had been a stiffness in the woman, as if she were feeling awkward and didn't quite know what to do in this situation.

It had been one of the most painful occurrences of Jane's life, but also one of the sweetest.

It was the first time she had made any contact with him since he had been indicted for murder. It hurt that he hadn't seen her green eyes sparkling with annoyance or grudging affection in months. And now, when she was finally here, finally with him, it was still missing.

Instead, he saw disappointment. Sadness. A sort of detachment, as if she were protecting herself.

And he knew she was.

He smiled as much as he could around the split lip and bruises. "Lisbon."

She didn't respond so he continued. "You look good. Maybe a little thin, but good."

"Don't."

Finally, she sat down in a chair by his bed. "Let's not talk about how I look, about if I look too thin. There's nothing you can do about it."

He swallowed hard. Why worry about her when he wasn't even able to help her, to be there for her?

She wouldn't look at him as she spoke her next words. "Jane, you can do one thing for me. Maybe you won't. I know you do as you wish regardless of others."

Here, she laughed sadly, bitterly. "But if you've ever cared for me, please. Please take care of yourself."

He stared at the ceiling, unable to look at her, afraid he wouldn't ever be able to look away. Afraid he would drink her in like a man in the desert. Afraid that this little bit wouldn't quench his thirst, but simply make it all the worse when she left. "Why, Lisbon? To preserve myself for the bright future?"

He had only ever reverted to such sharp sarcasm in his moments of darkness. No one had ever quite known how to deal with him then, except for her. And even then, he knew it made her a little uncomfortable, made her pity him even if just a bit.

"Jane, I couldn't do anything to stop this. Not as a cop. Not as a…as a friend. It's hard enough to know you're locked here. But to think of you being hurt. Or…or worse." She paused, then cleared her throat. He wondered if her eyes would be shining and liquid if he looked at her. "I know it's selfish, but I don't think I could handle that."

He couldn't answer for the strange tightness in his throat. He felt her small, delicate hand grasp his. He thought that he hadn't felt anything so good in a long time. The warmth of her, the softness of her skin.

Probably the closest he'd ever get to any sort of Heaven. In this life or the next.

They didn't speak anymore and she left after only another ten minutes. Neither said goodbye.

They were sure it would break them.

It had been two years since that day and she had never returned. Jane still turned down visits from his old team mates, even though they never stopped trying.

He had taken to avoiding newspapers or TV, even if they were a privilege he earned. He had done as Lisbon wished. He had made sure he watched out for himself. He didn't think he could disappoint her again. Still, he didn't want to catch the news and see her or her team. He didn't want to read in the newspaper about the CBI SCU's solved cases.

So it was a pure accident one day, when he was showing one of his famous card tricks to a top guns among the inmates, the droning TV in the background (irritating—he was hardly ever here when the TV was on; he made sure of it) suddenly caught his attention.

"Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon of the CBI was critically injured in a shoot-out confrontation with a murder suspect. Authorities are awaiting further information on her condition, which will come when she comes out of surgery…"

There were other details, Jane was sure, but somehow those words froze him in place.

He wanted nothing more than to be there for her, with her. In that moment, Jane realized that in killing Red John, he had given up more than he suspected. He didn't care that he lived every day in this prison. He didn't care that he didn't have all the creature comforts (though, surprisingly, prison was rather nice for the cooperative inmate).

He did, however, care that he couldn't save Lisbon. From emotional and physical pain. From her own selflessness. From her loyalty.

And now that she was hurt—maybe dying—he wanted nothing more than to be by her side.

Yet here he was. Locked away. Helpless. He could do nothing for her.

This was why he had avoided newspapers, visitors, television. This exact situation. He had been okay with his actions, with the results, because he had ignored the true consequences. And now that he was facing them head-on, he found for the first time a sliver of regret inside.

Just because he wasn't aware of Lisbon's strife, her injuries, didn't mean that they didn't exist.

That hurt. Now, he made himself confront that truth. He could no longer act as if life continued happily, peacefully for those he had left behind. He allowed himself to wonder if she had been hurt before in these last two years. If she had bled. If she had cried. Loved. Lost.

The next time Cho came to visit, Jane allowed him in. There wasn't a joyous reunion. No hugs or slaps on the back. Simply five words.

"She's going to be okay."

After, Jane still couldn't watch TV or read the paper. But he did see the team when they had time to visit. Lisbon didn't come.

Until a year later when she limped in on crutches. Broken leg. Hostage situation. Jane had heard it from Cho.

This time, his eyes devoured her desperately.

Even though he knew there would never be a happily ever after—not for him, not for them—he allowed them have this.

Once a year, they would sit with each other. Mostly in silence. Sometimes holding hands, reminding themselves that they were alive, even if they weren't living.

And those times when they really touched, but not physically, Jane allowed himself to imagine a different life. The path he hadn't taken, but probably should have.

He just hoped she didn't do the same. He wanted her to move on, to be happy. Even if it was with someone else. Someone he would never meet, never see.

When that moment came, he would smile and pretend to be happy with his lot. Pretend he didn't have any regrets.

Pretend he didn't love her.

But mostly, he would pretend that what he didn't see didn't exist.