A/N: This is my entry to the October Jello-Forever challenge. Prompt: Frozen In Time
Thanks to my insanely awesome beta, tromana. Thank you Tracie!
Dedicated to CaterinaCarmela and DiviniaSerit. Rina, I'm glad everything's better now! And Div, you're awesome!
Note about format: Italics are flashbacks. Bold italic are what's written in letters etc. Bold are thoughts. It makes more sense when you read it.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Mentalist, but one day I WILL OWN A TV SHOW! MUA HA HA HA HA!
Her fingers brushed over the glossy plastic that covered the photograph; a reminder of days gone by.
His curly hair was as unruly as ever, giving him a very flyboy look. He was smiling, and his hand rested on the waist of the woman who was standing next to him. Her dark brown hair was curled, just like he preferred it and she was smiling a pretty smile at the camera. She was leaning into him, her right hand resting on his right shoulder, and her head leaning on his left.
She thought about the moment for a while.
"Time off work, for once," Lisbon grinned and Jane smirked, his eyes sparkling.
"Have anything planned?" he asked her innocently, but she knew that he already had a plan concocted.
"No, why?" she asked warily, wondering what he had up his sleeve.
"Well, it is a lovely warm, sunny summer's day and the beaches are beautiful at this time of year. Everyone else is still at work."
Jane grinned at her and she rolled her eyes.
"You want to go to the beach?" she questioned, raising an eyebrow.
"Sure! Invite the others, they'll come."
"Fine then," she agreed, reluctantly giving in to his demands.
Jane had driven them all down to the beach, with Rigsby bouncing about like a three year old. Lisbon had sat shot gun and had a slightly strange conversation with Jane about what bets the team currently had on them.
"Uh, what are you doing?"
Jane looked at Lisbon worriedly. She chuckled as she unbuttoned her shirt. Rigsby, Van Pelt and Cho had already disappeared away towards the sun, sea and sand, leaving just herself and Jane by the SUV.
"You really think I want to wear my shirt here?" Lisbon asked, laughing at Jane's stricken face.
To Jane's intense relief – he probably would not have been able to control himself if Lisbon was wandering around in her underwear – she was wearing a thin, white camisole top underneath. She pulled off her shoes and socks, and he followed suit.
As they walked along the shore together, Rigsby and Van Pelt bounded up. The red headed rookie was brandishing a camera.
"Come on, Boss!"
Rigsby protested when Lisbon said no. She groaned.
"Fine then," she agreed once more to their demands and surprised herself by relaxing into Jane when he pulled her into a kind of hug.
She remembered that moment in time. It was frozen into her memory, forever.
Jane had been fighting his war, back then. Red John had been his nemesis and he wanted revenge for the murder of his wife and daughter.
Everything was different now.
Everything had changed one evening in November. It had been a cold day and Lisbon had let the team off early because they had only been working on cold cases.
There was a knock on her door. Lisbon groaned at she sat up from lying on the couch and muted the television. She was dressed in her brother's oversized football jersey and her hair was a total mess, but she didn't care. It was probably just a salesman or a delivery for her.
Opening the door, she came face to face with Jane.
Frozen with surprise, she didn't push him away when he leaned down and kissed her on the lips. Soon, too soon, he pulled away again.
"Good night, Teresa," he spoke softly, before turning and walking away.
"Good night," she closed the door carefully, thoroughly confused but happy.
It took a few months to progress from kissing to making love.
It took the team less than a week to notice the change in their relationship.
Cho won one hundred and thirty dollars. And twenty-three cents.
Their relationship changed, slowly but surely, from 'friends with benefits' to lovers. From lovers to partners.
Neither ever mentioned marriage.
Lisbon gripped Jane's hand tightly, and cried out.
"Push!" encouraged the nurses, and she glared at them.
It had been painful and the pain was what she remembered most. The other thing that she remembered had been the emotion of having her – no, their - newborn baby placed in her arms and its pitiful cries puncturing the silence.
"She's beautiful," Jane whispered, holding both his partner and baby in his arms.
"She is," Lisbon agreed.
"Arianne," Jane commented suddenly.
"What?" Lisbon looked up at him, slightly confused.
"Her name. We never discussed it."
Lisbon realized that he was right.
"I like it. Arianne Isabel…" she trailed off.
They weren't married, so who would the baby be named after?
"Arianne Isabel Lisbon-Jane." Jane suggested, and Lisbon smiled.
She flipped through the pages. There were photos of Jane with Arianne, her with Arianne and her with Jane and Arianne. There were some of Rigsby, Van Pelt or Cho with her little girl. There was one of Minnelli holding Arianne, a giant smile across his face. He played the part of grandfather better than anyone else ever could.
At only fourteen months old, many people had commented at how intelligent baby Arianne was already becoming. Cho grinned and picked up his 'favorite niece' and swung her around. She giggled and waved her little hands in the air. Cho set her down on the floor. Thebouncy little girl ran over to the two other people who had just walked in the door and were currently talking to her parents.
"Auntie Grace! Unca!" she wrapped her arms around Rigsby's leg.
He laughed, and picked her up.
"Hello there, Arianne," he tousled her hair and she tried to do the same to him.
"She's growing so fast," Grace smiled at the girl who was almost a spitting image of Lisbon, but who had Jane's piercing blue eyes, his smile and most importantly: his charm.
A lone tear slid down her cheek. Jane, Arianne and her looked so happy in the pictures… like such a family.
And now all that was gone.
She finally reached a page at the back. To most people, it looked empty. But she knew better.
Her fingers touched lightly on the six tiny words printed in black pen in the top right hand corner of the page. She had written them there the day after… the day after it had happened.
They're gone. And it's your fault.
It was a stark reminder of life.
"Ms. Lisbon?" the friendly voice of the woman at Arianne's nursery alerted Lisbon to the fact that there was a problem.
"Yes?" Lisbon didn't bother to correct the woman. Whether she was Ms or Agent didn't matter at present.
"We are worried that Arianne may have the flu and we don't want it to spread. Is there a possibility that you or her father may collect her?"
Lisbon sighed; poor Arianne, she seemed to catch every bug that went around.
Lisbon set the phone back on the dock, and walked out into the bullpen. Jane looked up as she entered.
"I have a meeting with Minnelli in five minutes, and Arianne's nursery suspect flu."
Jane sensed her silent plea.
"I'll take her home. Inform Minnelli for me."
He kissed her cheek before swiftly heading out of the office.
Lisbon had regretted that moment for ever. She should have gone to collect Arianne. It should have been her. But, no, she sent Jane to get her daughter for her.
You were such a lousy mother, her thoughts were uncontrollable, and her bottom lips began to wobble. The tears came like a river bursting its banks in the monsoon season. It's all your fault! You stupid woman, you didn't deserve a family like them!
She pushed open their front door.
"Patrick? Arianne? I'm home!" she called up the stairs.
Wondering if Jane had fallen asleep with Arianne, she crept up the stairs quietly and looked at the door to Arianne's room.
Her eyes widened.
There was a red circle around the dot of the "I" on Arianne's name plaque on her door.
The door was slightly ajar, and she pushed it open.
She shuddered at the memory. It crept up on her.
When she was trying to sleep.
When she was at work.
All the time.
It never left her alone.
She would never forget those few seconds.
"Arianne? Patrick?" her voice choked as she stared at the giant red smiley on the wall. She looked down.
Jane was lying on the floor, blood covering his shirt and vest. Arianne lay next to him, the innocent little girl, not even two years old, knife marks covering her tiny body, and her toenails painted a bright red.
There was a note on the floor between the man and daughter who were so special to her.
My deed is done. Revenge is sweet. A pulchritudinous crimson smile for you.
Patrick Jane is dead and gone and my salient quest for avengement is done.
Arianne's death was a calamitous coincidence. It was lamentably unavoidable.
She punched the wall and then cradled her bleeding hand.
Now she understood why Jane had been so hell-bent on revenge. It ate into your soul, your very being.
Jane's mission for revenge on Red John was over.
Hers was just beginning.
A/N: Well, I hope you liked that! Feedback is much appreciated!