Rating: K+

Spoilers: Red John's Footsteps (Season 1 Finale)

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Summary: Jane's thoughts during and after events in "Red John's Footsteps."

It's funny how sometimes we want something so much that our entire life seems to be about getting it. We live and breathe it every day. It's the first thing that pops into our head when we wake up and it's a constant feature in our dreams at night.

Whatever it is, a dream, a person, we want it so badly that it becomes a part of us. It affects our decisions, invading on every conscious thought. It toys with our objectivity, makes us question everything we thought we knew about ourselves until when we look into the mirror, we're not sure whose face is staring back at us.

Desire. It's a strange and powerful thing.

But what happens when we realize that we can only get things we want at the expense of things we need?

My name is Patrick Jane and I want only two things in life. I want to find Red John, the man who killed my wife and daughter. And then I want to kill him.

I seek Red John like he is the Holy Grail. I visit every crime scene, I chase up every lead, I talk to every man, woman and child who has so much as heard his name. I took up a consultancy post at the CBI purely so I could be privy to any information that might help me track him down.

I keep my mattress in the room where he took away everything that was precious to me, leaving only the sickening sight of his trademark smiley face behind, created from the blood of my wife.

On the rare occasion that I manage to fall asleep, the first things I see when I awake are those demonic red eyes boring into my own. People don't understand why I keep it on the wall. "Surely," they say. "It can't possibly help you to move on."

And they're right. It can't. But I don't want to move on. I keep it there as a visual reminder of the only reason I bother to get up in the morning and carry on with the charade that passes for my life.

Sure I know the work we do is important. I can give bereaved families the closure that I never got. Secrets are revealed, relationships are strengthened, broken hearts can begin to mend. It's a good thing we do, Lisbon, Van Pelt, Rigsby, Cho and I. I get that.

And somewhere along the line I began to feel a genuine affection for them all, a side effect of working in such close quarters I guess. It's a pleasant feeling, an unexpected bonus on this path I've chosen. They're good people. They work hard and they are passionate about making the world a better place. I respect that. Admire it even. But I can't believe it.

Despite my reverence for my colleagues, I've never let it stand in the way of what I really want. I've never hesitated to try some new technique to find Red John, even if it meant I had to hurt them to do it. I've said cruel things, I nearly cost them all their jobs. I've made it crystal clear that there's nothing I won't do, nobody I won't hurt to achieve my ultimate goal.

Up until today.

We find a lead to Red John and we get so close I can almost taste it. We have him in our sights. Soon I'll get my revenge. But once again, he slips through our fingers so I have to make do with Sheriff Hardy, one of Red John's many accomplices.

Lisbon tries to comfort me, assuring me we'll make Hardy talk and tell us where to find Red John. But I'm so angry at losing him again I can barely see straight. Her words fall on deaf ears. "You're being selfish and childish and I want you to stop it," she says to me. She doesn't understand.

We exit the house. Lisbon's talking to the kidnapped girl and Hardy's being wheeled away on a stretcher. The rifle he was carrying is leaning by the front door.

Suddenly, he's up off the stretcher and he's killed the cop next to him with his own pistol. Now he turns the gun on Lisbon, who gasps in terror.

And something inside me snaps.

I can't let her be collateral damage for my personal crusade. I have to do something.

But I can't let Red John evade me again.

Red John or Lisbon?

Make a choice. Make it now.

The gunshot sounds like a small explosion.

How did the rifle get into my hands? I don't remember picking it up, much less aiming it at Hardy's chest. I wasn't even aware of pulling the trigger. But now Hardy's on the ground, blood blossoming from his wounds.

I throw the gun to the ground like it's a poisonous creature and I run to where Hardy lies. It doesn't take long for him to expire, a mere thirty seconds.

He's lying motionless on the ground and I look up from where I'm kneeling beside him.

Lisbon.

She's saying something to me but I can't make out the words. But she's okay. She's okay because I saved her. She's okay. I just shot a man. He's dead because of me. I chose her life over his. I just killed someone. But I saved her. She's okay.

The bile rises up in my throat and I turn away from her in humiliation as I retch. She says nothing, just rests a hand on my shoulder until I'm finished.

Somehow, I'm now sitting in the back of an ambulance. Someone must have put me here, as it seems that I'm not in control of my body at the moment. My hands are shaking so violently that the cup of tea I'm holding is spilling over the sides all over my suit. And I don't even care. I'm too busy trying to process what I've just done.

I've taken a life. And it wasn't Red John's. It wasn't planned or prepared for. I did it on impulse, just like that. Boom. And it's over.

I'm not sure how I'm feeling. Guilt and revulsion mixed in with relief and confusion and fear and anger and a bunch of other emotions that I can't be bothered to identify just now.

Shock. I could've had Red John but I can't bear to lose her. I've given up the thing I want most on this earth because I need her more. I need to hear her laughter. I need to see her roll her eyes in frustration. I need to tease her and make her so angry that she threatens to shoot me right then and there. I need to present her with corny gifts and see the blush creeping up her cheek.

I need her more then I could possibly imagine, so much so that even Red John temporarily took a back seat. I sacrificed my life's mission because I'm simply not willing to pay the price of the life of someone I care for so deeply.

I can't stop the tears that begin to flow and I pull the blanket, given to me by some kind stranger, tighter around my shoulders. My world and my life is collapsing around me at a frantic pace.

Red John: 3 Patrick Jane: 0

And all because I had to go and fall in love.

The tears come even faster and the ambulance tilts a little as someone else sits on it. There's a hand on my shoulder and a voice in my ear. Male. Rigsby.

"You OK man?"

I can't answer honestly with yes or no so I don't respond.

"I know it's hard. It always is when, you know…"

I know. Oh, I know.

"You did the right thing. You saved the boss."

I manage to nod.

He leaves.

I still haven't moved from my fortress of solitude when I feel the ambulance shift again.

A voice, female this time, and unfamiliar.

"How are you feeling Agent Jane?" The question is posed in clipped tones by one of the paramedics.

For some reason, this is enough to induce me to speak.

"Mr. Mr Jane, not Agent."

"Whatever. I need to take your blood pressure."

I snatch my arm away from her. "What for? I'm not hurt."

Another voice, female again and one I know well, interrupts our conversation.

"Jane you're practically catatonic. Let the woman do her job."

The paramedic grabs at my arm again but I pull away just in time.

"It's pointless. There's nothing wrong with me."

"I can think of a couple of things."

I choose to ignore this. "What about you? Are you okay?"

Lisbon smiles at me. "I'm just fine. Thanks to you."

I swat at the paramedic as she once again tries to capture my arm.

"Jane!" Lisbon scolds me.

"Wow. You managed to both thank me and reprimand me in the same sentence. Quite a skill."

"This isn't funny."

"Who says it is?" I'm sure not laughing.

Lisbon sighs. "Jane, please, just let her check you over and then we can go. We need to get Maya home."

I slowly rise to my feet. "So let's go then."

With rather unnecessary force, the paramedic yanks me back down. "You're not going anywhere until I say so," she snarls at me. I twist my arm away from her before she can get a firm grip on it and she sighs in exasperation. She appeals to Lisbon.

"Ma'am, please. I can't let him leave until I am satisfied that he is not injured or harmed in any way. It's the rules."

Lisbon nods. "Jane, let her check you out. That's an order."

I shake my head forcefully

She kneels down, until she is at eye level with me. "Jane…"

Her voice is gentle. I'm surprised. I was expecting more anger.

"You saved my life and I will always be grateful. But now you need to do one more thing for me. I need to be sure that you're all right and this is the only way to find out. Please, just let the paramedic do her tests. For me."

She takes one of my hands and clasps it in her own as she says this, her gaze never leaving mine.

I hold out my free arm to the paramedic who seizes it, attaching the blood pressure cuff with lightning speed.

Lisbon smiles at me, and for the first time in hours, I feel like I can return it. So I do.

I haven't forgotten my purpose here today. I'm not through with Red John. I'm going to finish what I've started. My family are owed that.

But I'm not going to allow the team to be caught in the crossfire. When I finally do face Red John, I face him alone. I'm not going to ask them to stand with me. I couldn't live with the guilt if something happened to any of them.

Especially Lisbon.

My hand tightens on hers. I need her too much to let Red John ruin what we have, no matter how small it seems. Perhaps there could be more to my life then hatred and despair. Maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel. It's a new way of looking at things for me.

Perspective, I think it's called.

What did you think? Review please!!!!

A/N In case you're wondering, Red John's 3 points correspond to all the times he has evaded or beaten Jane i.e his wife and daughter's murders, killing the guy that Jane helped get out of jail and Hardy getting killed before he could talk.