All the usual disclaimers apply: I don't own the show, the characters, or anything other than the words on this page.
We've only seen two episodes of the show so far, here, so I hope this doesn't clash with anything still coming in future episodes. That said, it is just a work of fiction, after all. I hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to let me know what you think.
Expiation and amity
There were sins, and there were sins. Patrick Jane knew this. Some sins were no more than telling people what they wanted to hear, feeding their need for solace, for closure, for peace, for an end to their private anguish. Some sins were born simply of playfulness, the small white lies of daily life; flirting with the edges of untruth, while entertaining those around you. He'd committed those sins for years. After all, magic tricks and mind reading weren't real, merely clever manipulations of reality under the eyes of willing believers. Other sins, though, were more egregious. Beyond forgiveness, certainly beyond the possibility of forgetfulness. Sometimes, almost beyond the pretence of survival.
For Patrick had survived. Physically, at least. Emotionally, he wasn't so sure. He'd survived the worst that could happen to any man. He'd lost his home, his family and his career, such as it was. He still had the house, true, but without his wife and daughter, it wasn't a home. And as for his career, entertaining crowds with gimmicks and a good line of patter had lost its thrill when his world had imploded around him.
Sometimes he cursed the observational skills that had made his previous work so easy. A mind trained in the science of observation, coupled with a near-brilliant intellect and flawless memory, made divining motivations and seeing almost invisible clues to a person's needs a simple matter. But the same qualities made forgetfulness impossible. And so he would forever remember each detail of that night; the eerie silence in the house, the creeping sense of dread as he walked towards the note on the bedroom door, the aching fear that clogged his throat as he forced numbed fingers to open the door, and the inevitable knowledge of what the dripping red face on the wall signified.
Later, the rest of the scene had been indelibly burned into his brain. If he closed his eyes and let his mind wander in the slightest, the images were waiting for him again. The best part of him and his life, dead and beyond his reach, the image forever scarlet in his memory. And so he had learned not to sleep deeply when he was alone, or to sleep drugged beyond the reach of his nightmares. And he'd made the decision to offer what help he could to those who fought evil.
He'd learned much since then. He'd learned to use humour and persistence to achieve the sort of rapport that he'd managed to build more effortlessly, in his previous life, with skilled manipulation. And he'd taught himself to be truly humble, to rein in his instinctive need to prove himself the most intelligent person in the room. But the most important thing he'd learned since that night was that arrogance was a sin too.
It wasn't on the list of seven deadly sins, which he considered ironic, as it had turned out to be the deadliest of all sins as far as he was concerned. Since Red John had invaded his life, Patrick had learned to temper his arrogance with humility, to admit that he'd been complicit in his family's death. And for that, he hated himself.
There'd been times he'd considered suicide. Some would no doubt have thought it a fitting end to a life such as his, but in the end, he'd lacked the ability to kill himself. Instead, he'd set his sights on finding one murderer amongst the many in the world, with the intention of ridding the world of one embodiment of pure evil. Not redemption, in any sense, but perhaps a small attempt at balancing the scales of justice slightly.
Today had been one of those days that started off well and deteriorated relentlessly into something dark and depraved. The sun had been bright and the day glorious, until the call came. The children had been the first victims found, both dead and posed on the swings in their own backyard playground. Their faces had been untouched, but the same couldn't be said of their small, helpless bodies. The next victim found had been their mother, posed in her bedroom, with similar mutilations. And the devastated husband had been the one to find their bodies.
The husband's anguish had affected Patrick deeply, as he'd seen in it an echo of his own loss and pain. But the worst was yet to come. The evidence, the cold, factual evidence this time, had led them quickly to the murderer. None other than the devastated, supposedly grieving husband, whose wife had been in the process of divorcing him. Patrick had felt gutted at the revelation, realising too late that the man he'd empathised with, was a cold-blooded monster. A monster who'd then tried to use Patrick as a hostage to escape Lisbon's team.
The team hadn't taken the threat well, which was why the husband was currently in the hospital under guard, and Patrick was back at the office, settled on the sofa and considering his colleagues.
Teresa Lisbon's team were all professional hunters of the evils pervading society. To his surprise, he'd found himself liking them all. He'd not expected to feel the lure of friendship or even simple companionship again, believing all those finer feelings had died at Red John's hands. And yet he liked them. In their own ways, they seemed to like him too, which often struck him speechless. What good could they possibly see in him?
In many ways, he envied them too. Another sin. The easy, solid faith that formed the foundation of Grace van Pelt's life was seductive, with its promises of salvation and forgiveness. He wanted the certainties he saw in her eyes, the beliefs that cradled her from the world's drive towards destruction. And he enjoyed teasing her about Wayne Rigsby, who was clearly deeply smitten at the very sight of Grace.
Rigsby was, in some ways, the person he'd once hoped to be. A man of fairly simple desires, and yet not a simple man. One who would be satisfied with his share of happiness, in his own peaceful, small world. And in spite of this, a man driven to defending justice as the best way to give everyone else a chance at happiness as well. Thus, a noble man with a noble goal. Not so simple after all.
Another complex character could be found in Kimball Cho. A supporter of truth and justice, with a desire to do what was right; yet with a pragmatic streak the others lacked. He understood that sometimes, justice required a little more help than the strictures of the law allowed; and he was willing to consider the necessity of a gentle nudge in the right direction. When pushed to his limits, Cho would be more likely to choose pure justice over pure law. Admirable and noble, but perhaps not the best course of action. Only time would tell.
Teresa herself was as close to an enigma as he'd ever met. The clear, open gaze made her seem easy to read, simple to understand. Yet beneath that clarity, he could see that she carried ghosts of her own, spectres that haunted her as much as Patrick's ghosts taunted him. He wasn't sure what her demons were, and unusually for him, felt no need to pry them out into the open. Every person had a right to hold some secrets to themselves; to preserve some portion of their soul from the world's gaze.
So he envied them. And liked them. And chose to be as honest as possible with them. He'd realised that he didn't want to hurt them, if he could prevent it. Which meant that suicide was no longer an option for him. It would hurt his friends too much. Patrick didn't particularly fear death, but for their sakes, he wouldn't actively seek it out. If death came for him, though, he had no plans to fight it over much. But the option of ending things himself meant that one of these people, people he'd come to see as friends, would be the one to find him. They'd grieve over the signs they'd missed, and blame themselves for something they'd had no part in, and no control over. And that was unacceptable to him. So he'd chosen to live in their company, content to experience the true warmth of their growing friendship towards him.
They didn't blame him. They didn't think Red John's actions were his fault, and that he'd been responsible for the murders Red John had committed in Patrick's home. Patrick didn't agree with them, but it was comforting sometimes, to see their faces light up with recognition when they saw him and to hear the warmth in their greetings and gentle jokes. These people were pleased to see him, and they were willing to protect him, physically and emotionally. They were willing to take his side when he needed their support.
Patrick had needed them today. More than he'd thought possible. Being a hostage to fate and violence had been an unsettling experience, and they'd all stood by him. Shielded him from curious onlookers at the scene, guided him safely to the office, made sure he wasn't alone as he relived the day's events. Settled him on the sofa in the office and carried on with their normal activities around him. Far enough away not to hem him in, but close enough to make sure they'd be there if he needed anything at all. He was more grateful than he could find the words to say.
Patrick wasn't a praying man, but right now he prayed that one day their faith in him would be justified. He saw each day as another painful step on his path to atonement for his sin. Atonement he wasn't even sure was possible for him. They saw each day as another step into knowledge of each other, one step closer to a friendship to sustain them all in the tough times.
And sometimes, when he weighed their views against his own, he thought that perhaps the work he did with them was part of his attempt at atonement. Perhaps one day, even his sins could be forgiven; never forgotten, but perhaps pardoned. Maybe in time, he'd even be able to see himself more as they saw him. Perhaps he could even learn again, from them, how not to hate himself.
Patrick Jane laid his head back on the sofa and closed his eyes. For once, as he drifted towards sleep, he felt no fear of his nightmares. His friends would keep him safe.