Disclaimer: I own nothing. It all belongs to Bruno Heller.
Author's Note: I wrote the majority of this story before "Red Brick and Ivy" aired so it may be slightly different from canon. I tried to make it as close to canon as possible. And, of course, thank you to Zeldaophelia for the beta.
He loved the Bureau the most when everyone else had gone home and all the lights were out. The dark and the quiet always seemed to bring him comfort. In the solitude, he didn't have to be charming or brilliant or anything. He could simply be Patrick Jane.
Settling on the couch in the office, he looked out the window. Everything was pitch black, except for the headlights of the traffic passing by below the building.
After a while, he closed his eyes and let himself remember.
He knew it wasn't good to dwell on the memories, to let them creep back into his heart. After all, that's what Sophie Miller told him when he was her patient, but he couldn't let them go. Five years, and he could still recall it all as if it were yesterday.
Five years earlier
"Mr. Jane! Mr. Jane! Did you know this was going to happen?"
"Can you contact your family and ask them what happened?"
"Do you know what Red John is planning right now?"
Patrick Jane kept his head down, refusing to look at the television reporters trying to push their way through the crowd to reach him. He felt the bodyguard's hand on his back, steering him down the church stairs towards the waiting black limo. He didn't cry. He wouldn't cry, not in front of these reporters or anyone else.
"Back up!" The bodyguard - Joe? Was that his name? - barked. He pushed reporters out of the way and shoved Patrick into the back of the car.
Once inside, he peered out of the tinted windows. People crushed their bodies against his car, trying desperately to get a statement. Jane simply turned away, ignoring the cacophony of noise that surrounded him.
His wife and daughter were gone, their bodies displayed so he could find them without any problems. Red John had wanted him to find them, wanted him to know he would not be taunted.
His fault. Patrick knew it was his fault; it didn't take psychic powers to figure that out. Every night, his wife showed up in his dreams, blaming him and asking him why. He asked himself why every single day.
The car jerked forward, moving slowly through the crazier reporters who tried to block its path. Policemen pulled them aside, and Patrick was on his way to the gravesite to watch them bury the only two people who ever mattered in his life.
If he closed his eyes, he could still see his daughter smiling and laughing as he lifted her above his head and spun around with her. He squeezed his eyes tighter. Tears were threatening to spill over, and he wasn't ready for that yet.
The driver and the bodyguard said nothing, making this the quietest car ride Patrick had ever taken. His in-laws refused to ride with him, opting for their own car. They blamed him, too. He saw that every time he looked at his mother-in-law. Her eyes were always angry when she glanced his way. It didn't matter. The woman had never liked him anyway.
Patrick barely made it through the graveside ceremony. It took everything he had to stand there and watch them lower his life into the ground. Then came the quiet ride home, and the empty house.
Days, weeks, months passed by. Patrick wouldn't leave his house, and even Carol, his agent, couldn't get him to come out.
Everyday she knocked on his door. He couldn't get her to go away unless he answered her through the intercom.
"What?" he growled.
"You have to come out and make a statement. You have to move on with your life," she pleaded.
"Go. Away." And that would be the end of the conversation.
Every once in a while, he would turn on the television and see Carol smiling from a press conference podium. "He's in mourning right now; surely, you can respect that," she would say.
"Is he doing anything to find Red John?" a reporter would ask.
"That's the police's job," Carol would answer.
More time passed, and grief turned to anger. He wanted Red John to hurt and to suffer. As far as he was concerned, the man - if that's what he was - didn't deserve to live. So, Patrick started planning and plotting. He was going to meet Red John someday, and Patrick didn't plan on letting him live very long.
"Jane? What are you still doing here?" Patrick looked up to see a woman's silhouette in the doorway. Judging by the voice, it could only be Teresa Lisbon.
Patrick put on his smile. "Thinking," he answered.
She crossed the room and clicked on a lamp sitting on one of the desks. Patrick narrowed his eyes against the light. He took in the features of the woman who stared at him - shoulder-length dark hair, high cheekbones, green eyes. Eyes that were currently looking him like he was an idiot.
"Come on, Jane, let's get something to eat. I'm starving," she said, breaking the silence.
Patrick waved her forward. "You go on. I'll go home soon."
Teresa shook her head. "We'll go whenever you're ready. Besides, I need someone else to buy my dinner." The corners of her mouth lifted in a smile.
"Do you know what day it is today?" Patrick asked.
"Yeah, I do, and I don't plan on leaving you here by yourself." She nodded towards the door. "Come on, I'm craving steak."
Patrick sighed and stood up. He put his hands in the pocket of his jacket, the smile becoming genuine. "Well, I suppose I shouldn't keep a woman from her steak for too long."
"Exactly." Teresa turned on her heel, leading the way out of the room.
Patrick followed her, only momentarily stopping in the doorway to look back. Five years to the day, he had lost the only two people who had ever mattered. He wanted to be alone with the memories, but maybe Lisbon was right. He turned and watched her walk to the elevators. This woman was going to lead him to Red John. This woman was going to help him get his life back.
He followed her down the hall.