Oh my goodness, it feels soooo good to write again! *sigh* Well, I'm back from vacation and summer classes are over, so I'm hoping to get some much needed updating going on! The reason for this EXTREMELY late epilogue is that the lovely Tromana (who this story is a gift for) pointed out there was one thing I hadn't clarified. In all honesty, I wasn't going to clear this up because I wanted to let the readers wonder what was on that piece of paper Jane kept carrying around… but she asked so nicely! I wanted to keep the suspenseful ending of the last chapter, so I apologize if the style differs from the majority of the story! Enjoy!
One Week Later…
She was never going to fall asleep. Rolling over with a loud sigh, she winced as all her weight pushed down on her side. She refused to reach for the pain medication by her bead, and instead continued the movement until she was on her back. Staring at the dark ceiling. Again. Like she had been for the past two hours. Her fingers absentmindedly found their way under the hem of her shirt and she frowned in concentration as they lightly danced over the raised lines that were healing. She was relieved to discover there was no pain this time. If only ribs could heal as fast.
She accepted the fact that sleep wasn't going to come tonight, and she swung her feet off the bed. Suppressing a shiver as her bare feet hit the cold wood, she grabbed the blanket off the foot of her mattress and softly padded to the living room downstairs. Curling up on the couch, she settled for some stupid dinosaur movie that would be terribly predictable. Drawing the blanket tighter around her frame, a wayward thought tugged at her mind. It had been one week since the encounter in the warehouse. One horribly, long week while she was bored out of her mind and too sore to do anything useful.
The crime scene investigators had been able to pull a tiny DNA sample off the pipe she had hit Red John with. It wasn't much to go on, but they were running it through every system imaginable. It wasn't much to go on, but it provided the team with a small ray of hope. Red John had made a mistake, and although she doubted any lead the sample might turn up would be plausible, there was always a chance. If anything, they had a solid shred of physical evidence to link with possible suspects. It was more than they had ever had before. No, the case was coming together. The problem was Jane.
She still wanted to know what was on the piece of paper he had been carrying around the week prior to their little escapade. She had guessed by now that it had something to do with Red John- something that would spark him into action, but she wanted the truth from him. Glancing at the clock, she realized her alarm would go off in an hour. She might as well head into work early. After all, she had been out for a week and she was sure the paperwork would be overflowing. And if she happened to find the time to question the blond with no witnesses, well that was just a byproduct of her dedication to the job.
Jane would see right through her.
Thirty minutes later, she yawned as she climbed the steps towards the second floor of the office with a latte in hand. Jane was predictably on the couch as usual, the week off obviously having no effect on his normal habits. With a soft hello, she dumped her belongings on her desk before heading towards the bullpen to get the conversation over. He was starring at her with an unreadable expression on his face. Cocking her head to the side, she pursed her lips and stopped in front of him.
"You've found me," he murmured sleepily while stretching his arms up. She rolled her eyes.
"You're getting predictable."
"Oh, we can't have that. Next time I'll be sure to vary my napping location," a teasing grin spread across his face and she just shook her head. A moment of silence passed before his gaze turned serious once more.
"There's just one thing that's bothering me," she started and he held his hand out.
Picking up the small piece of paper from his unclenched hand, she wondered if maybe she was getting too predictable. She stared at the blood red words for several minutes, letting her mind comprehend the message.
'Prove it, Mr. Jane.'
It wasn't a whole lot to go on, but she could see why it prompted Jane into action. She knew he was getting tired of waiting for the serial killer to slip up. Just a single sentence from the criminal had more than likely set the stage for an address, followed by the doomed meeting. She just wished he hadn't kept her in the dark. Apparently the semblance of trust stretched between them, was only that- a semblance. Looking up at the man on the couch, she shivered when their eyes met.
"Thank you," she said softly before handing back the crumpled note. At least she didn't have to weasel the message out of him. Quietly, she made her way back to her office and sank into her chair.
Turning on her computer, she was ready to start the day, unaware of the true role she was playing in a very dangerous game. If only, Jane had shown her the entire note. If only she had seen the small slip of paper flitter to floor from her desk when she opened the door to her office. But of course, choices made by others would always leave her woefully unprepared for what was to come.
Later that night, Jane sat alone in the corner booth of a small diner. His tea had long since gone cold, and the food in front of him was barely touched. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out another piece of paper and carefully laid it beside the first message Lisbon had seen earlier. Putting his head in his hands, his conscience twitched and he wondered if he should have told her the truth. Red John wasn't done with them yet. One lived entirely too aware of the growing storm, and the other blissfully unaware. Which was the right decision?
'Your turn, Mr. Jane. Prove to me she means nothing, unless you require help in seeing the truth. It's black and white, my friend, and the decision is yours. You won't get a second chance.
Prove it, Mr. Jane.'
Back in the office, the cleaning lady frowned as she pried the piece of paper clogging the nozzle of the vacuum. These agents sure were messy, but normally Agent Lisbon's office stayed pristine. Smoothing out the paper, she studied the words before deciding it had probably missed the trash can earlier. As she grabbed the bag, the blood red words were distorted through the clear plastic.
'Your turn, Agent Lisbon.'