Okay, so I can't remember the exact words from the promo, but this is spawned from the preview for the season finale so maybe slight spoilers. Also, be ready to be upset with Jane. This is showing that side of him that is not often seen. In fact, maybe a side of him never quite seen before at all. Probably the end will be uplifting because depression is not fun. It will likely turn into a friendship fic between Lisbon and Jane. Grr, I'm feeling bitter about Jane right now.
Don't own 'em. Sorry it's so long. And also sorry in advance because I don't have the next part written yet. I'll get on that.
Chapter One: Threats
"You try to stand in my way, you will regret it."
"Are you threatening me?"
Lisbon and Jane locked gazes, neither willing to give in to the other. The team froze, almost scared to move, holding their breaths. Jane didn't answer, but Lisbon's eyes read him easily for once. She didn't like what she saw. She turned from him to address her team as if the tense exchange had never happened.
"Cho, take Rigsby and Van Pelt to question the parents. Jane and I are going to check out the address found on the paper by the body."
She turned to head to the door, only to be stopped by Jane's voice.
"I'm going with Cho. Van Pelt can go with you, Lisbon."
She just knew he did not just do that. She slowly turned around. Sure, she had been lenient with him, often letting him have his way, but this was too far. "No, Jane. You are going with me."
He put his hands in his pockets and attempted to give her a cajoling smile. He couldn't pull it off. His emotions were too close to the surface to hide under his normal mask. "Lisbon, the address is stupid. Meaningless. Written in the victim's own handwriting. Red John always types his messages and they are always from him—not via a third party."
"I'm not asking, Jane. I'm telling. Either you go with me or you stay here." She turned to the other three agents. "I'm not playing around. If I find out that any of you allowed him entrance with you, you will all be written up."
The team remained silent. Though Jane and Lisbon often contrasted in viewpoint and approach, they had never so openly clashed. She continued, addressing Jane again. "I am not endangering my agents because of your vendetta. You are a liability and a danger to this team in this investigation. If anyone is exposed to that, it will be me and me alone."
Jane didn't answer for a moment, his gaze smoldering. "Don't be silly, Lisbon. Of course you guys aren't in danger because of me."
Her expression didn't change, remaining stony. "If today has taught me anything, it's that I should have always followed my instincts with you."
The stillness in the air was broken as Cho ushered the other two agents out the door, leaving Jane and Lisbon relatively alone. Jane spoke first. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"I was right not to trust you and you were wrong to tell me that I could. For once, the great Patrick Jane was wrong." She reached into her pocket to pull out her keys, ignoring the slightly hurt look on his face. His earlier line—no, threat, she told herself—had taken away any right he had to be hurt by her lack of trust in him. "Are you coming with me or not?"
He hesitated only briefly before nodding. He was on her heels as she left the building. In the car, Lisbon felt no need to make conversation and his efforts were half-hearted, as if he were discouraged that she hadn't simply forgotten his words earlier. He had thought she knew his plans, his intentions concerning Red John. Didn't she understand that he couldn't let anyone get in his way? Even so, he was not a liability to the team. They just shouldn't interfere in his hunt for Red John.
Lisbon, for her part, was berating herself for ever allowing Jane under her skin. Sure she may not have trusted him personally, but she had always thought that when it came down to it, he would have her back like she had his. She had foolishly allowed herself to believe his words—standing on the dirt among the trees, the smell of strawberries and apples between them, the intensity of his gaze.
"No matter what happens, I will be there for you."
Well, she was done. She would rely on herself and certainly not Patrick Jane.
When they reached the location, Lisbon parked the car. "Stay close, Jane."
If he didn't think this were a dead end, he would be irritated. She just wanted him on a tether so she could impede on his revenge. As it was, he just rolled his eyes. Ooh, an abandoned building. How terrifying.
Lisbon saw it first and he felt the unnatural stillness in her. Peeking around her shoulder, he froze. Tacked to the door was a type-written note welcoming them.
From Red John.
In that moment, Jane knew that he had been wrong. Red John had changed his MO. He was taunting Jane.
Red John was here. Jane knew it.
Jane could practically feel his blood rush in his veins—not warm with rage as he would have expected, but suddenly cold. Lisbon would never let him go in there. He had to get her out of the way because she was definitely not going to step back willingly.
She never felt his hand brush the fabric of her coat as he reached into her pocket. Pulling her gun, she issued an order. "Jane, you stay here. I'll clear the building first."
Receiving no answer, she turned to see his expression. She felt a jolt through her body and a sharp pain concentrated in her back before she succumbed to the blackness.
Jane looked down at Lisbon's body and tenderly moved her to rest against the wall beside the door. She should really be more observant. If Jane could lift her taser, then the likelihood that suspects would do the same was pretty high. He felt a moment's regret as he looked down at her, but pushed it away.
He had to get Red John. He had to make him pay.
Leaving Lisbon, he headed into the decrepit building. It took an agonizing fifteen minutes to sweep through it, searching, until he ended up on the roof.
Empty. As he turned to retrace his steps, he noticed something fluttering on the periphery of his gaze. Moving closer, he saw that it was a note—similar to the one on the door of the building. He felt dread well inside of him as he stepped ever closer. A sense of deja vu washed over his body. He broke into a cold sweat. One that he hadn't felt in over five years.
Since the day that a note like this one welcomed him home to the slaughtered bodies of his wife and child.
Hand shaking, afraid of what he would read, he reached out to smooth the paper down and hold it still against the wind.
Nice co-workers you have. They certainly trust you, don't they? But they don't know you like I do.
Sad for them.
It was accompanied by the dreaded smiley.
Jane's hand fisted. Red John was not here. He had escaped vengeance—escaped Jane—again.
Reading the message over again, Jane tensed as realization hit him. "Shit!"
Bolting to the door of the roof, he clambered down the stairs without his normal ease or grace. He needed to get to Lisbon. She was defenseless down there, unconscious. Reaching the first floor, he stopped abruptly. Rather than outside where he left her, Lisbon was inside. Leaning back against the door. Even from his spot ten feet away, Jane could see the smiley face carved into her cheek, blood moving slowly in a path to her neck.
His breath caught and he felt a bit sick. He had done this. Left her there. Looking back, he thought he may have done it again if it meant getting Red John and he wondered what kind of person that made him. Finally gathering his senses, he rushed to her side and took a quick inventory of her condition. Still unconscious, but she seemed fine besides the chilling mutilation of her cheek. To be on the safe side, he called an ambulance and then Cho.
Sighing, he collapsed on the floor beside his boss and dropped his head into his hands. He knew Red John was long gone from the premises. Jane had missed his chance. Something nagged at his mind—why this building?
Maybe the killer did know him. Very well. Knew the lengths he'd go to for revenge. Jane's gaze meandered over Lisbon's face, seeing the blood-red smile of Red John's mark looking back. His fists clenched.
He would kill that bastard. No matter what.
Lisbon had been fine aside from some disorientation and minor stitches on her cheek. The cuts had been shallow. It was possible that it would scar, but with the right care it would likely fade away to nothing.
At the moment, Jane was standing stoically in front of Minelli.
"Lisbon says she doesn't know who tasered her." The man's eyes shrewdly took in the consultant's pose. "I'm not stupid, Jane, but if she wants to protect you then that's her business. But if you ever leave any of my agents at the mercy of a serial killer again, you are out. End of story."
Jane nodded curtly and left without waiting for a dismissal. He was on edge and any provocation could prove too much. Passing his coworkers' desks, he distantly noted that Lisbon was moving around in her office. He wondered if he should go talk to her. Before that thought could go any further, Van Pelt was suddenly in his face.
"Your wife would be ashamed of you."
Her quiet, venomous words and the mention of his dead wife took him by surprise at first—they were so unlike the gentle agent he knew. He gazed at her, allowing some of his turmoil to show through in his eyes. She was unmoved. Unlike the other times when she mentioned his family, there was no apology forthcoming.
"Lisbon trusted you. And you treated her like she was nothing. You don't care if you ruin her career by compromising her position as a cop. You don't care if you hurt her. You don't care what happens to her as long as you get your precious revenge." Van Pelt's words were speeding up as she continued, clearly upset. Jane was, too, but he refused to show it.
Lisbon's voice rang across the bullpen and Van Pelt jumped almost guiltily. She looked over to her boss. "My office. Now."
Jane stood, unmoving, as his young colleague followed the orders. When he could finally bring himself to look around, he saw an uncomfortable, but hostile Rigsby and a stone-faced Cho—though that was not out of the ordinary. For a moment, Jane felt a glimmer of hope. Cho had always understood his need for revenge, had always supported it. He had notified Jane when they had thought that copycat was Red John. He had advocated helping Jane when the consultant had 'resigned.'
Maybe he would understand. Maybe Cho would see that Jane had done what he needed to in order to get closer to Red John. His hopes were dashed by the man's words.
"I was wrong about you."
Nothing more. No elaboration. But Jane knew. In the team's eyes, what he had done was unforgivable. When Van Pelt came out of Lisbon's office, she looked shell-shocked. In a normal situation, Jane would have immediately tried to figure out what was going on, what in Lisbon's office had caused that expression—he had a tireless curiosity for all things Lisbon.
But it was clear that his probing would not be welcome. And in that moment, Jane really felt the consequences of his actions.
It was not a pleasant feeling.
"Cho, Rigsby. My office, please."
From his position on the couch, Jane tensed. Was Lisbon relaying information on the case? Could she be deliberately trying to keep him out of the loop? As some sort of punishment, he supposed.
He lay still, waiting for the two agents to leave her office so he could confront her. Injury or not, he wasn't going to let her push him out of the investigation. This was his case. Red John was his prey. End of story.
But the minute Cho and Rigsby exited her office wearing much the same face that Van Pelt had, Lisbon was heading toward Minelli's office, leaving no time for Jane to follow. He debated asking the team what Lisbon had told them, but he could feel the aggression rolling off them. Jane sat up, leaning his elbows on his knees and clasping his hands under his chin.
One by one, the rest of the team gathered their belongings and left without a word to the consultant. Gone was the easy camaraderie. Funny. Jane had thought he'd be able to easily give up everything in his pursuit for his family's killer. So what was that pang in his chest?
By the time Lisbon came out of Minelli's office, shoulders slumped tiredly, the sky outside was darkening. Jane couldn't help likening it to what he felt inside. He wondered what would happen if the darkness chased the light away completely. He scrubbed his hands over his face. Maybe his wife really would be ashamed of him. He shook the thought off.
She couldn't be ashamed. She was dead. Her life snuffed out like the fragile flame of a candle. Resolutely, he stood. Lisbon was going to tell him what was happening on the case. Whether she wanted to or not.
He entered her office, shutting the door behind him with a quiet click. Lisbon sat behind her desk, pensively watching the setting sun out her window and unknowingly presenting her bandaged cheek to him. He ignored the glaring white bandage that seemed to be reproaching him as he sat down in a chair across from her.
"I know something's going on. Is it the case? If you're trying to hide something, don't bother. I will find out. I promise you that. I'm not going to let you stand in my way," he said calmly. He felt something tighten and stretch inside his chest, but again paid no heed. He was doing what needed to be done.
"Oh, don't worry about that, Jane." She laughed self-deprecatingly, almost bitter. He frowned slightly. "I'm not hiding anything about the case from you."
She turned to face him and he almost flinched at the coldness in her eyes. This was an expression that she saved for suspects, for criminals, for those she didn't deem worthy of her trust or geniality. He was not used to being in that category. He was ready for her anger, for her sadness, her betrayal, pity, anything. Anything except for her removal.
No, he couldn't think that way.
He struggled to find his footing. If they weren't talking about the Red John case, then he wasn't sure where to go from here. Normally, conversation was not an issue. But today, things had changed. He felt the irritating need to apologize for leaving her at that psycho's mercy.
"I—earlier, well…" he trailed off before starting again. "I'm sorry that you were hurt."
She watched him for a moment. He didn't squirm and the stillness in the room was almost suffocating. "But you're not sorry that you did it."
He didn't answer. Honestly, he didn't know what his response would be. She continued. "You're sorry that I got hurt, but you're not sorry that it was due to your actions. So, Jane, how does that work? All part of your quest for revenge? Interesting that you want to kill this man for hurting innocent people—people who never had anything to do with him except through knowing you—and yet you are just as willing to step on those in your way."
He opened his mouth, feeling indignant. It wasn't like that…
She didn't let him finish. "I'm done. I'm transferring to another team."
Of all the ways he could have expected this conversation to go, that was not one of them. His hands tightened on the armrests of the chair, knuckles turning white.
"For at least the next month, I will be senior agent of a team in narcotics. I want off this case. I don't want to be watching my back, wondering if one of my own is going to cost me my job or my life." Her words were calm, resigned. Again, he felt nauseous. "Cho and the rest are sticking with the case on my recommendation. I know it would hinder investigation if an entirely new team was to be assigned and that is the last thing I want. There are a lot of people who deserve justice."
He still couldn't get any words out. Lisbon waited a beat, giving him an opening to speak, but still nothing.
"The team will treat you with the utmost respect. My last orders. It's not your fault that we were building you into someone that you're not." She began sweeping things into her bag. "Our mistake."
She stood and as she opened the door, he finally forced words through his lips. "I wish things were different."
She didn't turn around. "If you hurt them, Jane, if you even let one hair on their heads be harmed, I will find you and make sure you are locked away and you'll never have your revenge."
Here she turned her head and looked him in the eyes. "How's that for a threat?"
Then she was gone. And for the first time, Jane wondered when he'd see her again and how things had spiraled so out of control.