Red Desert Sunset
A/N: This will be the final installment of this story. It will include an epilogue too. Thank you so much for following me on this journey. Your support has been amazing and I really do appreciate it. Thanks again.
Chapter six – Honour
Lisbon emptied the paper packet onto the tiny table beside the bed. It was three days after Jane had been returned to society, and he was yet to wake up. He had been treated for extreme dehydration, a broken arm, and severe sunburn.
Inside the packet were all of the effects that had been found on Jane. It was a very small collection; just three things. One Lisbon recognised. His wedding ring. The doctors had managed to get it off of his finger without cutting it, for which Lisbon was relieved.
The second object was a knife. Long, sharp, and clearly not Jane's, Lisbon wondered where Jane could have gotten it from. She couldn't fathom how Jane could have come across a knife in the desert, but she figured he must have used it to stay alive.
The third item confused Lisbon. She held it up to the light and looked at it carefully. She realised with surprise that the object was a metacarpal. Her mind flicked back to the skeleton she and Rigsby had found. Lisbon had a feeling that Jane had found the knife there, and that he was trying to find the man's family.
She pulled out her phone and dialed a number. She had a favour to call in with an old friend.
The first thing Jane became aware of was sound. There was a low hum of noise in the background, and a steady beeping that seemed considerably closer. Then there were the textures. Soft against his skin, and cool to the touch. The smell hit him hard. Antiseptic, and harsh to his nostrils. He turned his head, and realised he had a soft pillow under his head.
He tried to open his eyes, but the light was harsh. He shut them and moaned. A cool hand on his right arm drew his attention, and he opened his eyes again. He got a glimpse of a pair of wide green eyes before the light was too unforgiving again. "Patrick," a voice said close to his ear. "Just give it time. Don't rush it."
Jane nodded, and rested his head back against the pillow. The hand on his arm moved down to rest in his own, and Jane carefully closed his fingers around it.
Jane didn't know how many days had passed since that first attempt to open his eyes, but he knew he was getting better all the time. He didn't open his eyes, but spent most of his time napping. He felt the nurses move his bed into a quieter room, and faded back into sleep as the bed was brought to a stop.
What felt like only a short time later, Jane turned his head and opened his eyes again. The light in the room had been turned down, and his eyes adjusted quite quickly. He turned his head to the left, and saw several machines standing next to the bed. There was a window beyond that, and he could see through a gap in the curtains that it was early evening. He had a tube in his arm, and he watched the drip for a few seconds. He turned his head to the right and realised that there was a person sleeping uncomfortably in the chair next to his bed.
Lisbon surfaced, and looked over at him. She smiled when she saw his eyes were open. "I'm glad to see you're finally awake."
Jane smiled back. "It's good to be back," he croaked.
Lisbon stretched forwards and handed him the glass next to his bed. He took a grateful sip, and smiled. "I will never underestimate water ever again."
He watched Lisbon's face change, and frowned. She sat back in her chair. "Patrick Jane, don't you ever do that again. How could you go off into the desert like that without telling us? And what the hell happened in that hut?"
Jane looked down. "I'm sorry, Teresa. I was wrong. I was arrogant, and I should have told you. I was ambushed, hit on the side of the head, and dumped in the desert to die. It was by sheer chance that I was able to survive, but even then, I nearly didn't."
He ran his good hand over the dressing on the side of his head. His left arm was in a cast and strapped to his chest. He could feel his skin was tight, and that he would be peeling soon. But Jane was grateful for the woman next to him, who had found him before he could succumb to the effects of dehydration.
Lisbon sighed. "Jane, we are all just relieved we found you when we did. Two more hours and it would have been too late."
Jane looked down. "Forgive me, Teresa."
Lisbon smiled. He was impossible to stay mad at for too long. "Fine, but I want one more answer. Why did you have a finger bone in your pocket?"
Jane looked surprised. "I wanted to see if you could get him identified. I want to return his knife to the family."
Lisbon nodded. "I thought that might be what you wanted, so I called in a favour."
Jane looked surprised. "Favour?"
Lisbon nodded, smiling at his apparent doubt. "I know people."
Jane looked skeptical. "What kind of favour?"
Lisbon pulled out a file. "An FBI agent I helped out on a conference a few years back, Seeley Booth, just happens to be the liaison officer for the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington DC. I sent him the bone, and he got the scientists to analyse it for us. The owner of that finger bone is a Californian named Harry Martins. He was twenty-three, single, and no kids, lived with his parents. He went missing six months ago after going on a hike in the desert. One of his checkpoints was supposed to be that hut. But there were so few police officers for all of the cases they get, it was never investigated."
Jane opened the file and read the Missing Person's report. There was nothing in that report that Lisbon hadn't mentioned already. Then Jane turned over the page. There was a full anthropological report on the skeleton. "What is this?"
Lisbon took the file back momentarily. "The scientists at the Jeffersonian were so intrigued by the story behind the bone; they requested the rest of the skeleton to study. It was shipped out two days ago, and the report came back today. Your man you found, he was murdered."
Jane raised an eyebrow. "Murdered?"
Lisbon nodded. "They found signs of abrasions on some of the bones, and apparently the throat was slit. There's more. We ran the DNA the scientists pulled against the blood on the wall."
She pulled out the results and handed them to Jane. His eyes widened in surprise. "It's a match."
Lisbon nodded. "Exactly. Turns out the skeleton you discovered was a victim of Red John."
Jane looked back at the missing person's report. "It looks like he surprised Red John at the hut, and got himself killed for it."
Lisbon shut the file and sat forwards in her chair. "It looks that way. But now we can tell his family what happened to him."
Jane nodded. "Please take the knife back to his family."
Lisbon stood up. "Rigsby and I plan on doing it tomorrow morning."
Jane looked down. "Send my condolences to the family."
Lisbon nodded and left, leaving Jane alone with his thoughts. Jane knew he was lucky to be alive, but something nagged him. What his hallucination of Angela had told him. He knew that he needed to give up the senseless hunt for Red John, to move on and start life new.
Jane decided that he would stay with the CBI, not to be close to the case, but to help the families who had experienced loss the way he had. To help them to find the closure he could never have.
He rested back against the bed, and felt himself relax for the first time since he had woken up under that rock. He knew the saga was over.
Epilogue – Home
Lisbon sat at her desk. She thought back at the events of the previous week. She and Rigsby had gone over to Harry Martins' family to tell them they had found their son. His mother had cried when she had been told the news. Lisbon had informed the family that the remains would be returned within the next few days.
Then an unlikely thing had happened. An invitation to the memorial service of Harry Martins arrived for Lisbon and her team. They had all attended that morning, including Jane. Mrs Martins had given him a hug, and cried into his shoulder. Jane now lay on his couch, relaxing after the morning's events. It had been three weeks since Lisbon had found Jane lying in the desert. He had recovered well, and was back at work for the time being.
That initial image of him as she had found him haunted her dreams. Many scenarios had gone through her mind as she had sat by his bedside for the first week he had been unconscious, none of them pleasant.
He had told her he intended to give up his pursuit of Red John. It had been Red John who had 'tipped' him off, and then ambushed him in the hut. He had left a sign, the vest, to taunt Jane's colleagues. Red John had not intended Jane to survive, but against all odds, he had.
Jane wouldn't be leaving, but merely moving on. "Angela and Charlotte would have wanted it," he had told her. "I need to honour what they would have wanted."
Lisbon had watched him hand over his copy of the Red John files, and he had begun to move on from the tragedy in his life. Lisbon didn't ask what Jane had experienced in the desert; honestly, she didn't want to know. Jane would talk when he was ready.
For now, the Martins family had closure, and Patrick Jane, for the first time in a long while, was finally home.
She looked over at the couch, and smiled to herself. It felt good to have her family home. All of them.
A/N2: I hope I did the end of this story justice. Please leave me a review and tell me what you liked, or what I could have done differently. Thank you to all of you for following, and special thanks to LouiseKurylo, nic73 and MissDonnie for your advice. It really meant a lot to me. Thanks again.
Until next time,