This fic is based on the moment between Jane and Lisbon where he confesses to having a breakdown. It's more like Jane's thoughts afterwards.


Both past and present, Jane was a master of illusion. Skilled, highly skilled, at hiding himself from the world. At pretending. Very few people in the world knew how broken he truly was...

How he wished that Lisbon wasn't one of them.

In his time at the CBI, he had been able to pretend as if that brief period in his life had never happened. Had argued with Lisbon—bantered with her, infuriated her, teased smiles out of her. But now...when he had told her of his breakdown...well, she was good. There was a reason that victims' families responded so well to her. She was truly gifted at presenting an understanding, compassionate veneer that was void of pity.

It wasn't pity that bothered him. Even if she had felt that for him. It was the knowledge in her eyes every time she looked at him. He felt it burn through him. Whether it was on her mind or not, he felt it in her every gaze.

She knew of one of the most shameful moments in his life. She knew that it was an act. All of it. And that scared him. Because if that act was taken from him, then he wasn't sure who he was. And he wondered what she saw now when she looked at him. What she saw beneath the shell of a man that he had become.

He hated that new knowledge in her. Who had said knowledge was power? They were imbeciles. Really. With her more than anyone, he wanted to have that facade. He didn't want her to know just how empty he was.

Because he was afraid that she would leave it at that. That she would realize he was a lost cause.

More than that, he was afraid that (like Sophie) she would someday buy into his act and think he was 'all better.' Fixed. He didn't know if he could handle that. It would mean that she was no longer that person he admired—astute. Discerning. It would mean that he was getting further and further away (from her), hiding behind that wall he created on which he could project a persona. But mostly, he didn't know if he could handle the disappointment that would follow. When she realized that 'all better' wasn't better at all.

He was on his couch when it hit him: this preoccupation he had with Lisbon, with this situation...well, maybe he wasn't as empty as he thought.

He discovered a breakdown of another sort—the kind where his walls, his personal barriers, were pulled down and he was left under the startling green gaze of the one woman whose opinion truly mattered.

And for the first time in a long time, he felt no shame.