Red Collisions

Chapter 1: Personality Quizzes

Monday, 6:00 AM

"Do you think I'm more romantic or spontaneous?" Jane asked curiously as he leaned against Lisbon's kitchen counter, his eyes trained on the magazine in his hands. He was wearing his usual black vest with a clean, blue buttoned down shirt that seemed to match his eyes perfectly. His curly blond hair was still wet from his shower and a cheery smile graced his lips.

Lisbon, on the other hand, was half-asleep, her hands going through the motions of making coffee. Her eyes were glazed over and weary, and her hair was a tangled mess. She was wearing a slightly over-sized T-shirt with the logo of a beach resort printed on the back along with a pair of thin, black flannel pants. She knew she wasn't exactly flattering in her pajamas, but Jane didn't seem to notice, enthralled in whatever nonsensical questionnaire he was answering in the magazine.

"Why are you here so early?" Lisbon asked, still frowning after being woken up by relentless knocking instead of her alarm clock. Jane shrugged, meeting her gaze.

"No one else would let me in." He replied, making it sound like it was her fault for answering the door. Lisbon was too tired to keep frowning, so she resumed her dazed expression, half hoping this was a dream and she was still in bed sleeping. "Romantic of spontaneous?" Jane furthered, as if the answer was monumentally important.

"Why can't you be both?" Lisbon remarked, watching as the coffee was being made.

"Personality Quizzes don't work like that." Jane reasoned, smiling at Lisbon's vacant expression. He truly enjoyed messing with her in the morning. It had become the only time they were actually alone together and Jane took full advantage of it, arriving early every day. Jane wondered why Lisbon even let him in.

It had been about three weeks since Jane and Lisbon had first kissed, and during those three weeks, the CBI team had dealt with an onslaught of cases ranging from suspected suicides to kidnappings to triple homicides. Cho had been right: the state of California is incapable of maintaining peace for any length of time.

The team somehow managed to solve every case, but only after hours of overtime, short lunches, and very little sleep… and as a result, Jane and Lisbon had spent very little time together outside of work and had yet to go on a third date. As soon as they closed a case, a new one presented itself.

That's not to say that things hadn't changed between Lisbon and Jane. They had.

"Where'd you get that anyways?" Lisbon questioned, nodding to the magazine.

"Gas station." Jane replied. "It has a crossword." He added, glancing up at her.

"So?" Lisbon asked, confused.

"You like crosswords." Jane pointed out, as if the statement was a well-known fact. Lisbon narrowed her eyes suspiciously.

"Most people learn things about other people by asking questions… not by snooping through their stuff." Lisbon concluded.

"Why ask if I already know?" Jane questioned, smiling.

"It's common courtesy." Lisbon explained, too tired to be amused. Jane paused.

"Why do you assume I was snooping through your stuff?" Jane inquired.

"How else would you know that?" Lisbon countered, suddenly doubting his means.

"You're not the sodoku type." Jane explained curtly.

"There's a type?" Lisbon questioned, her lips curving slightly into a small smile. "You're not planning on making a habit of waking me up this early, are you?" She added, grabbing a coffee mug from the nearest cabinet.

"I get bored." Jane answered, tilting his head slightly.

"At 6 A.M.?" Lisbon asked incredulously. Jane simply smiled and turned his eyes back to the magazine.

"I'm putting spontaneous."

Monday, 7:15 AM

The air was frigid and the sky was dark and menacing, threatening to erupt into a downpour at any moment. Lisbon felt raindrops falling on her skin, but saw none, attributing it to her imagination.

She lifted up the yellow police tape, while simultaneously showing the closest police officer her badge. They waved her and her team through.

Lisbon wore a new blouse with alternating dark and light blue vertical stripes with a black jacket, matching black pants, and her usual masculine shoes. Her hair was curlier than usual due to the relentless weather, but she still managed to look professional and put together. She was also wearing, for the first time, a necklace with small pearls on it.

Lisbon was the first to enter the small, paneled house belonging to the victim. As soon as she entered she was overwhelmed by the rank scent of death mixed with the cold wet wind drafting through the building. She recoiled briefly, using her sleeve to cover her nose and mouth. Lisbon overcame the putrid smell and wandered towards the living room where she found the victim laying on his back, having been shot several times in the chest. There was a puddle of blood surrounding the body and there were a couple of police officers still surveying the scene, along with the county coroner.

"I'm Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon from CBI." She introduced herself to the young woman in charge. She was wearing plain clothes and had dark hair and severe eyes. "These are Agents Cho, Rigsby, Van Pelt… and Patrick Jane is a consultant with the bureau." She added as her team arrived at the scene.

"I'm Melissa Walker with metro." She replied coolly. Melissa seemed to harbor some intense anger and frustration… but not towards CBI.

"Who is he?" Cho asked, squatting across from the coroner so he could examine the body.

"Andrew Till." Melissa replied, glancing at the young victim. Andrew had been in his late twenties with dirty blond hair and a round face. His eyes were still open and were a glassy blue tint.

"Who found the body?" Rigsby questioned, moving along the edge of the room. Van Pelt stood in the doorway while Jane stayed in the hallway, listening.

"His sister lives a few blocks from here. She was supposed to stop by his house early to say goodbye before boarding a plane to England this morning. But when she arrived at the house, he didn't answer, so she entered the premises." Melissa explained, having already interviewed the sister. "She found him like this." She concluded.

"Time of death?" Cho asked; looking up at the coroner, who was an older man with thin-rimmed glasses and light gray hair.

"Roughly 5:00 AM." The man replied.

"Do we have the murder weapon?" Cho furthered.

"No, and no witnesses. No one heard the shots." Melissa answered, her tone revealing frustration. "There seems to have been a struggle." She reported.

"You seem disappointed." Jane pointed out from outside the room, easily hearing her chagrin. The woman frowned.

"Andrew Till is a high-profile suspect in a bank heist down in San Diego. We were planning to raid this place later on this morning." She confessed, glaring at the consultant. Jane moved to the doorway so he was standing next to Van Pelt.

"It appears someone beat you to him." Jane commented brusquely before leaving to search the rest of the house.