Disclaimer : I don't own the characters. They belong to Bruno
Heller. I just read into their thoughts and behaviour
and am inspired by them.
Author's Note: This is the follow up to Red Letter Day. Thanks for
all the nice reviews for that….please keep them
coming! PLEASE REVIEW, I DON'T GET MANY!
Thanks to : Bruno for being a genius…and of course, the
Fabulous Baker man….his smile is contagious!
Red Or Dead
CBI HQ, Sacramento
Grace Van Pelt breezed into the bullpen. "Good morning." She smiled cheerfully. Agent Kimball Cho looked up from his desk and acknowledged his colleague's greeting with his eyes and a slight nod of his head. A few seconds later, Wayne Rigsby strolled in, sharing the same expression as Van Pelt. Surreptitiously, they exchanged the kind of glances that intimacy provides. Rigsby made his way over to his desk. Grace opened her drawer and placed her holstered weapon inside it before heading into the kitchen area for coffee.
There she encountered a dishevelled looking Patrick Jane, who was slumped over a file on the small round table, his head resting heavily on his left hand and an empty cup and saucer on one side; next to it a small pile of spent tea bags.
"Jane?" she asked, somewhat concerned over his appearance. "Are you alright?"
Jane lifted his head and looked at her but his eyes didn't quite focus. He had been staring intently at the words on the sheet in front of him. He inhaled deeply, and exhaled loudly. His mouth began to form into a yawn and he cricked his neck from side to side before stretching his arms out, keeping them bent at the elbows. He blinked a couple of times, and then seemed to wake up.
"Morning, Grace," he answered, eventually.
Van Pelt wore a frown. "Have you been here all night?"
Before he could answer, Agent Teresa Lisbon wandered in. Immediately taking in Jane's appearance, she gave him a look of annoyance.
"Dammit, Jane. I thought I told you to go and get some sleep! Look at you, you're a mess!"
"And a good morning to you too, Agent Lisbon." Jane wasn't really offended, he knew her observation was probably correct, judging by the fact that his vest was unbuttoned and his shirt creased and hanging out on one side.
Lisbon raised an eyebrow as if waiting for an explanation.
"What?" asked Jane deliberately.
"Sleep?" she repeated, eyebrows raised like a stern teacher demanding an answer from the kid who hadn't been paying attention.
"Mehhh, overrated if you ask me," he responded shaking his head to one side. He stood up, collecting his cup and saucer as he went and headed over to the water dispenser for some hot water. Lisbon stepped in front of him.
Quietly she said, "Look….We will find him."
Jane gave her a 'yeah, yeah, I've heard that before' look of impatience.
She went on. "I know, I know. But you know as well as I do that all the leads we had were dead ends; the balloon, the roses, the card; all of them. It was like they were purchased by a ghost."
Jane inhaled again at the memory of the eleven red roses sent to the CBI, addressed to him, several weeks previously. And the card; a cruel reminder that his daughter would have been eleven years old that day; if she had lived.
Lisbon touched his arm. She smiled tenderly. "We will get Red John…but first, you need to get some sleep. You're no good to anybody like this." She took the cup and saucer from him and directed him towards the brown leather couch where he did most of his thinking.
He inhaled deeply again and held his hands up in mock surrender as she pushed him gently into the bullpen. His eyes rolled towards the ceiling, attempting to show annoyance, but instead there was a hint of something else; he was touched by her concern and felt like he should do as she'd asked…just this once.
As Jane stretched out on the couch, Lisbon regarded her team. In a firm voice she said, "Nobody talks to him, nobody gets him anything, or takes him anywhere. Clear?" They all nodded in unison.
Lisbon turned to Jane, who had his eyes closed. "You? Sleep! Now!"
Jane raised his eyebrows, but kept his eyes shut. He raised his hands again in surrender and then clasped them loosely over his stomach. Under his breath and pulling a face, he muttered, "Jeez, okay mom." Lisbon pushed her knee sharply into the cushion near his ribcage; a warning to let him know she meant it. Jane sighed heavily, crossed his arms and turned his body slightly towards the back of the couch. Lisbon smiled faintly before walking away to her office.
About 90 minutes later, Jane was awakened by a vibrating sensation against his ribcage. He shifted slightly and placed his hand over the movement. It was his phone. He remembered placing it in the small pocket on his vest earlier that morning. He opened an eyelid to see whether Van Pelt, who was seated the closest, had noticed. She wasn't at her desk. He raised his head, Cho had his back to him and Rigsby was also missing. Jane gave a mischievous smile and then turned his attention back to the text he had just received. There was no number listed. He looked at the message; just one word: WINDSHIELD.
Quietly but quickly, he sat up, then stood up, then left the bullpen without saying a word.
Rigsby and Van Pelt were refilling coffee cups. They had just got back to their desks when Lisbon appeared. She was about to ask whether they had found anything in the background checks she'd asked them to complete when she sensed something wasn't quite right. Her eyes immediately alighted on the empty couch.
"Where's Jane?" she asked. The others looked at the couch and then at each other. Lisbon's eyes demanded an answer.
Van Pelt offered one. "Maybe he went to the bathroom."
Lisbon looked at Rigsby, who immediately headed to the men's room to check. When he returned with a negative shake of his head, Lisbon's irritation showed as she exhaled a curse, "Dammit!" She pulled out her phone and dialled his number. It went straight into the answer phone. Irritated further, she left a curt message. "Jane, where the hell are you? Get yourself back here now!"
The others had looked pretty much everywhere when Lisbon realised that they hadn't checked to see if Jane's car was missing. She headed to the nearest window which overlooked the front parking lot and sighed with relief. The egg-shell blue Citroen was still sitting to the side of the front gate where Jane always parked. He couldn't have gone far. As she continued to stare at his vehicle, a slight breeze outside drew her attention to the front of the car. There was something flapping about against the windshield. Lisbon squinted to try and make it out. She couldn't so she headed down to the parking lot.
As she approached Jane's car, she began to get an unsettling feeling in the pit of her stomach. There was what looked like a flyer underneath the windshield wiper. As she reached to remove it she noticed that it was a plain piece of A4 paper folded in half. There seemed to be something a little bit more solid inside it. Lisbon opened the paper and something fell to the ground. Before she bent to pick it up, an intense feeling of dread washed over her. She noticed that the paper wasn't blank after all. Just above the fold there was the familiar, but chilling, drawing; a red smiley face.
As the blood drained from her face, she reached down blindly to retrieve the small plastic identity card that was lying by her feet. Her eyes struggled to focus as she looked at Jane's ID photo. Feeling quite dizzy, she had to steady herself against the front wing of the car. As she reached down she noticed a smear of red on the hood. Hesitantly, she touched it with her index finger. With a gasp she closed her eyes and began to pray.
Minnelli was worried; not just about Jane's disappearance but about Lisbon. He knew that no matter how irritating she found Jane at times, she had developed a fondness for him. She had always been protective of him, supporting his crazy schemes, backing him up when the higher echelons started to grumble. She had put her neck on the line for him on more than one occasion. Now Minnelli was beginning to wonder whether she was a little too close. He had no doubts about her capacity to lead the Unit, just doubts that she would be able to think clearly on this one. He stood in the doorway of the bullpen observing her from afar.
Lisbon was barking orders at every agent she could see. Rigsby and Van Pelt had been dispatched to the Security Office to check the footage from the cameras. If someone took Jane from the front parking lot there had to be something; there was a camera pointing directly towards the front gate. Forensics teams were all over his car and working on his ID badge and the piece of paper left on his windshield.
Cho was on the phone and his computer, trying to get a fix on the GPS chip in Jane's cell phone; but he wasn't having much success. He replaced the handset a little too firmly. Lisbon's impatient anxiety was catching. Cho tapped on the keyboard, held up his hands and then pushed it back slightly in annoyance. He turned to Lisbon.
"Anything?" she asked.
"Nope. Can't get a fix. Either his battery is dead or the phone is switched off."
"Dammit!" Lisbon banged one of her hands down on to Cho's desk. Her frustration was now turning into internal panic. 'Get a grip, Lisbon' she told herself. She took a couple of deep breaths before telling Cho to keep trying; maybe Jane was in an area that the satellite was having trouble picking up, or there was too much cloud cover, or something.
She swung around to notice her boss watching her. Her eyes drifted to one side, she took another deep breath and walked over to him; the submissive, but reluctant child.
"You okay, Lisbon?" Minelli asked in a fatherly voice. He had actually come to think of her as a daughter, so his concern was quite genuine.
"I don't know where the hell he is, Virgil." She seemed beaten but he knew she would never give in. "Red John has got him, and I don't even know where to start looking." A tear glistened in her eye but she blinked quickly, not wanting to look weak in front of anyone, let alone her entire unit.
Minnelli was just about to offer some comfort and advice when her cell phone rang. She didn't bother to check caller ID.
"No, Van Pelt."
Lisbon sighed upon hearing her youngest agent's voice on the line. "What is it?"
"I think you'd better come down here, boss," was all Grace would say.
Lisbon didn't like the sound of her tone; it seemed flat, lifeless.
As consciousness began to drift back in, Jane became aware of a slight pounding in his right temple. With his eyes still closed he tried to remember why his head was aching this way. He breathed in and became aware of the sensation that something was covering his eyes. He was also now aware that he was lying down on his left side and his hands were tied behind his back. His left arm was starting to detach itself from all feeling so he shifted slightly. He raised his chin upwards to try and see if he could find a gap in the blindfold where it went over his nose, but it was too tight; there was only a sliver of space, not enough to see through.
Deprived of his main sense, he decided to focus on his others. It wouldn't be too difficult; he'd had to do it before when he'd been temporarily blinded after an explosion several months back. He cocked his head gently to try and make out any sounds. There was a soft hum and an occasional wump sound. He could also feel a gentle vibration beneath his whole body. He deduced that he was in motion. The hardness of the floor beneath him suggested that he was in the back of a van of some kind. There was also a slight draft behind him, as if there was air rushing past, a door maybe. He could feel the ridges of the floor digging into his side and his foot brushed against what he assumed was a wheel arch, but it caught something else. Something heavy fell over and clattered; metal against metal. Almost immediately the van came to a stop. Jane heard the driver's door open and close. Then he heard doors at his feet open and felt the suspension jolt as someone climbed in. Without saying a word the figure picked up the heavy object and replaced it. They then secured it to the side of the van with some rope clips.
Jane didn't speak. He'd decided to try and garner as much information about his captor through his senses. He sniffed the air as quietly as he could; there was a familiar scent but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Before he had a chance to listen and smell further he felt a sharp pin prick in the side of his neck. The word 'ouch' formed on his lips but was never heard as he sank into a void of dark unconsciousness.
There was a tense silence as the whole team watched the camera footage. Lisbon observed as Jane left the building and wandered over to his car. He had his phone in his hand and kept glancing at the display, then looking around the parking lot. Two black delivery vans pulled up at the front gate and were let in. One went around to the back of the building but the other one turned left into the front parking lot. Lisbon continued to watch as Jane made his way over to his car, stopping exactly where she had stood an hour ago. He picked something up off the windshield. It was at this point that the delivery van moved slightly forwards and obscured Jane from view. Lisbon cursed. The van was there no longer than a minute before it pulled away again, leaving via the second exit on the other side of the lot. Lisbon's eyes focused on Jane's car the second the van pulled away. Jane was gone.
"Rewind!" she demanded. "The van, the delivery truck…"
Van Pelt obliged and the footage ran slowly backwards. She paused it with the van in full view.
"Can anybody make out the livery on that thing?" Lisbon asked, squinting at the image.
"Enhancing it…" uttered Van Pelt. The image zoomed in on to the blurred writing on the side of the van. They all squinted at it. Grace spoke first. "Uh…Looks like….Iron Cutting Services Ltd…..Oh my god!…" She realised the significance immediately, as did Lisbon.
"Son of a…. Rigsby, run the plate. I want to know who's owned that van since its manufacture, where it's been, what it's been used for. Also, interview the gate patrol. Find out who signed in and for what purpose."
"On it, boss." Rigsby headed back to the bullpen, clenching his teeth in determination.
"Cho, follow up on the traffic division cameras. See where the van goes. Hopefully it may give us an idea of where to start looking. And liaise with Bosco's team. Get them out looking."
"Grace, run the video feedback through one more time for me would you? There may be something we've missed. Jane's always talking about distraction techniques. This is a classic example."
Van Pelt teed up the footage. Lisbon watched again, but this time, as difficult as it was, she kept her eyes off Jane and focused on the background.
"What am I not seeing?" she asked herself, but out loud. She watched the footage several more times but still had nothing.
"Maybe we're looking in the wrong place," suggested Van Pelt. "Maybe instead of looking at the background at the time Jane disappeared, we should be looking before he disappeared. Someone had to have placed that note on his windshield beforehand." She rewound the footage to an hour before, whilst Jane had still been securely sleeping on his couch. They noted the same delivery van pull into the lot and stop in the same place for a minute before pulling away again.
"That's weird…" Van Pelt noted. "The driver doesn't even get out."
Lisbon asked her to rewind to the point where the van was pulling in at the gate.
"Pause it. There! See?" She pointed to the left side of the van. "There's a sliding door. There must have been someone else, other than the driver."
As she was heading out of the door telling Grace to keep looking, her phone rang. It was Cho.
"Boss, just had forensics on confirming that the blood on Jane's car was Jane's."
Lisbon felt like she'd been suckered punched. Deep down she'd already known that, but had fervently hoped that it was Red John's blood, and that Jane had fought back enough to leave them a clue. She hung up and headed back to the bullpen.
The thick fog began to dissipate from in front of Jane's eyes and he found himself in a sitting position on a chair, his hands still firmly tied behind his back and ropes wrapped around his shoulders. He blinked several times to focus and began to survey his whereabouts.
The room was pure white. It seemed to be inside a larger structure, like the set on a sound stage. There was no ceiling on the room, just the rafters of corrugated iron that served as a roof to many a warehouse. Two small black objects about two feet away from his feet caught his eye. It was his phone, in two pieces; the battery had been removed. Jane sighed and rolled his head around, and backwards, to try and see what was behind him; more white walls. The sound of a child's laughter caused him to snap his head forwards again. He cocked his head to the left and searched for the source. There were speakers fixed to the top of the walls in each corner. They weren't obvious at first because they also were white.
The child giggled again. This time she spoke, "Hi daddy. Come and see what mommy got." She giggled again. Jane's heart almost stopped. That voice. Those words. He knew those words. He knew that voice. His breath came in jerks. He stared at the speaker on the left, almost willing it to speak again, but it didn't. Instead there was flickering on the wall in front of him; just a white light at first, then came a blurry image. It was a small child, a young girl with dark blond curly hair. She was sitting on a pink tricycle which had tassels hanging from each of the handlebars. She was grinning into the camera and giggling. "Hi daddy," she repeated. "Come and see what mommy got."
Jane flinched physically as if he had been hit by an invisible hand. His bottom lip began to tremble slightly as he tried to suppress his emotion. Her beautiful face. Those piercing eyes. The innocence. Tears began to well up in his eyes as the events of his daughter's fourth birthday party unfolded on the wall in front of him.
"SHOW YOURSELF, YOU SON OF A BITCH!" he shouted, emotion causing his voice to break.
The video montage continued; the young girl wearing pyjamas and hugging a small panda bear as she snuggled beneath the covers on her bed; a beautiful woman with long brown hair and hazel coloured eyes, her shoulders wrapped in a grey wool throw decorated with small boomerang shapes, gazing lovingly into the camera and laughing; mother and child playing in a garden, swinging round and round and pretending to be aeroplanes; then back to the birthday party. It seemed to be running on a loop.
Hot tears were now trailing down Jane's cheeks. He was torn between wanting to see the faces of his family again and listen to their beautiful laughter; and not wanting to be reminded of what he had lost. The pain was unbearable. He felt like his heart was being ripped into a myriad of pieces, each one a jagged knife being turned against his other internal organs.
Jane lowered his head and his gaze fell to the floor. He heard his daughter laugh once more and he allowed a small flicker of a smile to break through. He tried to recall the happiness of the memory rather than the fear that he was experiencing at this moment. He wasn't going to let that bastard steal his memories as well as his family.
Suddenly the room was silent; the images gone. Jane looked up. His eyes trailed around the room looking for some kind of doorway. He deduced that it must be behind him. He waited, ears straining to hear the footsteps of his tormentor creeping up behind him. But there were no footsteps to hear. Though he knew it was futile, he tried to struggle against the ties that bound him to the chair. Failing to budge them, his thoughts turned to moving the chair itself. Summoning up lost energy, he pushed his feet downwards and tried to shove the seat backwards. It didn't move. He glanced downwards and noticed that each leg was bolted securely into metal plates drilled into the floor. Red John had obviously been planning this day.
CBI HQ, Sacramento
Lisbon was massaging her temples having just taken some Tylenol when Rigsby stuck his head through the door. "Think we've got something, boss."
She followed him out into the bullpen where Cho was teeing up some camera images.
"Well?" she asked.
Rigbsy began to inform her of his findings about the van. "Got a lot of info about the van's history….nothing that really stands out…until four weeks ago when it was hired out from a leasing company. The company bought it several years back but they say that this booking stood out because it was for an indefinite period of time and that the client asked if it was okay to put some livery on the van."
Lisbon wasn't that impressed. "Companies hire out vans all the time. Keeps their overheads down. What's special about this one?"
Rigsby continued. "The company that hired it?…Iron Cutting Services Ltd. is based in San Francisco…"
"Wait. They really exist?" she asked, a little confused. She had thought that it was a fictional company from the twisted psyche of a crazed serial killer.
"Yep. They exist alright. I did some checking. The CEO there says that the company, Iron Cutting Services Ltd., was sold to a takeover company a while back, had the correct documentation to prove it. But get this, they said that the company they sold it to was called RJ Solutions. And that that company was being run by a guy with an Italian name."
Lisbon's eyes grew wide. "Roy Tagliaferro?" Rigsby nodded a maybe.
"Okay," ordered Lisbon. "I want all the documentation and whoever sold that company down here asap. They might have seen Red John. I want a full description…and get the e-fit team in too. We could have our first look at this son of a bitch." She was more than a little excited at the prospect.
Whilst Rigsby sat down at his desk to make the relevant phone calls, Lisbon turned to Cho, who had been joined by Van Pelt. Together they had been trawling through footage from Sacramento's traffic camera systems.
"Any success tracking the van's route?" she inquired.
"Maybe," answered Cho. "We see it leave the lot and then we pick it up again going East on Capitol Mall heading towards 6th Street. It turns right and then right again at P Street."
Van Pelt took up the commentary. "We lost it for a couple of blocks but then it turned up again on the I-80 heading towards Reno and Fresno. It then merges with the South Sacramento Freeway and turns off at exit 203, where we lost it again."
"Yeah," Cho said, "Unfortunately there are no functioning cameras around there so the trail goes cold." He held his palms up and shrugged. "Apparently they're working on it."
"Damn." Lisbon thought for a second. "Do we have access to satellite images of that area?"
An idea suddenly came into Van Pelt's head. "You mean like on Google?" She tapped on the keyboard and an image appeared on the monitor. It showed some grassy terrain and a couple of turn offs, one of which led to some disused-looking warehouse structures.
Lisbon had her keys in her hand. "Come on let's go. Maybe if we follow the route, we'll get lucky…And get Bosco's team to meet us there."
Truth was she was desperate to get out of the office and actually do something practical. Add to that the nagging little voice in her head that told her there was something about those warehouses…and the dereliction of them.
Jane was staring inwardly into space. There was a lost look on his face as if he were far away, somewhere in the mists of time. He was jolted back into the present by the speaker bursting into life again. His daughter's giggles filled the air once more. "Hi daddy. Come and see what mommy got."
Jane shook his head refusing to look at the images but this time the little girl on the pink tricycle melted away and instead the camera was panning around the living area of Jane's house. Jane noticed the different flicker and looked up. He didn't recognise the footage. He knew it was his house but he didn't remember filming this video. His daughter repeated her phrase again, and this time the camera panned up the cherry wood staircase. Jane's breath caught in his throat – he'd made this journey too many times in his own mind. The camera reached the top of the stairs and panned to the left. Along the red painted wall were a series of black and white photos, images depicting happy times in the Jane household. The camera lingered on the last one of Jane holding both of the women in his life, laughter and happiness beamed from their faces.
There was no sound as a gloved hand reached out and turned the doorknob, gently pushing the door ajar. Jane flinched. His mind's eye showed him the image of the red smiley face smeared on the wall. Yet when he looked, it wasn't there. Instead, his wife lay on the bed, her eyes closed and her arm draped around his daughter's head and shoulders as she lay soundly asleep. There was a dog-eared copy of Goldilocks and the Three Bears resting at the side of them both.
Jane's breathing was rapid. He knew what must be coming but he was unable to tear his eyes away from this unseen footage of his family. The camera moved around to the side of the bed and looked down at his sleeping princess. A guttural scream escaped his lips as he saw the gloved hand bring forward a knife.
SOUTH SACRAMENTO HIGHWAY, Elk Grove
Though it was only a 30 minute journey, Lisbon felt it was taking too long to get there. She put her foot down. As they approached exit 203, Van Pelt, who had been looking out of the window on the right hand side, suddenly became excited.
"Look!....There's a black van!" she yelled. Lisbon almost crashed straining to look in the direction of Van Pelt's hand. She pulled off at the exit and made a sharp right.
There were four long warehouses, all of which looked derelict. They were surrounded by chain link fencing. The van was parked inside. Two gates, which were secured by heavy chains and a large padlock, barred their entry. This wasn't going to stop Lisbon, however. She could have waited for someone to arrive with some bolt-cutters but she didn't want to risk sitting outside if Jane was in there suffering who knew what torture. Bloody images of Red John's past victims flitted through her mind, but she forced them back out again. Jane was not going to suffer the same fate; she'd make sure of it. She told everyone to hold on as she slammed her foot down on the accelerator, busting the gates open.
Bosco's team arrived seconds later and they split up to search the four properties. Lisbon, Cho, Rigsby and Van Pelt took the two furthest away. Stealthily, they moved as one, checking and clearing doorways and make-shift rooms. The first building was empty, devoid of any activity for a long time. The second one looked as though someone had visited it recently. There were tyre tracks and a couple of footprints leading into the main space. Silently, Lisbon motioned for Rigsby and Cho to go in first. She pulled back the door and they entered. Cho swung his gun to the right at an open doorway. He stepped forward. The room was empty. Rigsby had checked the open area just in at the door. It too was clear. Lisbon and Van Pelt joined them. Ahead of them was what looked like a studded wall, like the back of a stage set. They made their way towards it, weapons at the ready.
Directly in front of them was a gap in the wall. Carefully, they moved, two either side. Rigsby thought he saw movement. Without a sound, Cho nodded and stepped through the gap, gun first. There was a scuffling noise followed by a shout from Cho. Rigsby ran in, followed by the others.
"Just a bird…just a damn bird!" hissed Cho. He looked down at a dirty blanket on the ground. Next to it lay a used condom. "Guess we found the local lovers' hideout." He spat on the ground, in disgust.
Lisbon exhaled heavily. Her shoulders slumped. She had been so sure about this place. Now she was beginning to doubt that they would ever find Jane.
They left the building to see that one half of Bosco's team had had about as much success in their first property. They were making their way towards each other when Lisbon heard a shout from the final warehouse. They all raced over, reaching the doorway just as one of Bosco's team was throwing up.
Lisbon froze. She began hyperventilating. She could see Bosco further on inside the warehouse, standing near another studded wall. He was shaking his head. Her lip began to tremble as she moved towards him shaking her head. "No!" she yelled. He held out his arms to stop her but she ran past him into the white walled room, and stopped suddenly. To her horror, the walls were projected with images of Jane's family – a montage of family videos was running on a loop on one of the walls; on another was a selection of still images; but the one that turned her blood cold was the video projected onto the far wall. She tore her eyes downwards to see a figure slumped on a chair in front of the wall. She gasped, then screamed, "NO!" and ran towards Jane's unmoving body.
Van Pelt, Rigsby and Cho stood near Bosco. None of them could move. They had heard Lisbon's bone-chilling scream. Van Pelt's eyes filled with tears. She placed her head against Rigsby's arm. Cho just closed his eyes.
Lisbon knelt by Jane's side. She looked into his open eyes. He stared lifelessly ahead at something unseen. She took in his appearance. What struck her was the lack of blood. There was a small cut on his head above his right eye, but that seemed to be all. Red John mutilated his victims, allowed them to bleed to death in front of him; something was off here. She looked again at Jane as she wiped the hot tears from her cheeks. One of them dropped on to Jane's cheek as she stood before him. She could have sworn she saw a twitch. Slowly, she reached out a hand and placed her index finger against his neck.
"Oh my god!" she muttered. "Jane?.....I need medics over here, NOW!" she screamed. Kneeling in front of him, she placed her hands on his knees and looked into his face. His eyes saw only the darkness within. She repeated, "Jane? Can you hear me? It's going to be alright. I've got you… Jane?"
At their boss' shout the rest of the team sprinted into the room. Lisbon didn't move but barked orders at Rigsby to get the ropes off Jane's arms. She continued to look deep into the consultant's eyes and talked to him, straining to see some kind of acknowledgment from him.
There was a sudden silence as Bosco located the power source to the projector and cut it off. He then dispatched members of his team to scour the place for any evidence they could find. He told them to tear the place apart if they had to.
SUTTER GENERAL HOSPITAL, Sacramento
Lisbon hated waiting in hospitals. It reminded her of the many times she'd had to go collect her father after one of his many drink-fuelled fights. She paced up and down outside the doors that led into the trauma room. The doctors had refused to let her go any further despite her many protestations and flashes of her badge.
She snapped around at the sound of the automatic door swishing open. A tall, distinguished looking man in blue scrubs stepped towards her. He was just replacing his stethoscope around his neck. His name badge introduced him as Dr. Stephen Franks.
"Yes. Is he okay?" She tried to sound calm, but her eyes kept darting in desperation towards the trauma doors.
"He's stable. The nurses are just getting him comfortable. Physically he's fine. There are a few abrasions around his wrists, a slight laceration and some bruising to his forehead. Other than that there are no other obvious injuries," reported the doctor.
Lisbon sighed with relief. "Thank god."
"I am more concerned, however, with his mental state," the doctor went on.
Lisbon cocked her head. She had been concerned about that too, ever since she found him on that chair. The look in his eyes had scared her. It was like he was lost in an internal hell, staring into the eyes of the devil himself. She had been hoping that he would somehow come round from it with all the noise of the sirens and a bustling hospital but he hadn't moved, and had barely blinked.
"He appears to be in a catatonic stupor," continued Franks.
"A what? What does that mean?" asked Lisbon.
"Well, we usually only encounter patients with catatonia who have received some kind of serious head injury or those already diagnosed with schizophrenia, but Mr Jane has only a small laceration to his head, nothing that would cause this kind of reaction."
"So….?" Lisbon cocked her head slightly, hoping that the doctor had the solution and was just slow to share it with her.
"So, I'm thinking that it's psychosomatic; that he has experienced some form of mental trauma and his brain has, for want of a better phrase, shut down; protecting itself." The doctor shrugged. "We can try the standard benzodiazepines for this kind of stupor and see how he responds." He tried a reassuring smile. "Medication usually works."
Lisbon sighed. "And if it doesn't?"
The doctor placed his hand on her shoulder. "It should. But if it doesn't…" He lowered his arm, "…the usual protocol is electro convulsive therapy; that…together with some form of cognitive behaviour therapy. In my opinion this is a psychiatric case. It may take years before he fully recovers."
Lisbon shuddered at the idea of ECT. She thought back to a conversation she'd had with Jane a while back about the problem he'd had just after the murders of his family. She recalled how honest he'd been about feeling ashamed, and how he'd somehow managed to keep it out of his file. An idea came into her head.
"Dr Franks? I'm going to need to ask you to do me a big favour," she began. Just as she finished convincing him to record Jane's condition on his chart as being due to a head injury rather than psychological, one of the nurses shouted from the trauma room.
"Dr Franks, you'd better come and look at this!"
Franks entered the room, hotly pursued by Lisbon. She wasn't going to be shut out this time.
One of the nurses was propping Jane up into a sitting position, holding him in place. He continued to stare unseeing and unmoving. They had removed his shirt and had managed to get his arms through the front of the hospital gown, but they hadn't fastened it. The nurse was gesturing towards Jane's back. Dr Franks took a step forward. "What the…?"
Lisbon followed. She took a look and gasped, "Oh god." Staring back at her from his flesh was a red smiley face. It had been smeared in blood, a grotesque tattoo. Lisbon closed her eyes briefly. She turned to the doctor. "I'm going to need a swab of that blood." She grabbed her phone and hit speed dial.
CBI HQ, Sacramento
Rigsby replaced the handset of his phone. He looked up at Lisbon. She had returned from the hospital a couple of hours ago, after making Dr Franks promise to contact her if there was even the slightest change in Jane's condition. She'd had to work hard and talk fast to convince him to falsify Jane's chart and not transfer him to the psychiatric center, but he'd eventually given in when she told him her plan.
"That was forensics," Rigsby said. "They ran the blood swab you took from the hospital through their database…" He shook his head softly, feeling more than a little sick at what he had just heard.
"And?" asked Lisbon.
"They matched it to the blood of Jane's wife." He inhaled deeply. Lisbon shut her eyes briefly and slowly shook her head from side to side. She felt dizzy, like she couldn't breathe all of a sudden.
Rigsby became concerned by her slight sway. "You okay?"
Lisbon opened her eyes, turned and quickly headed to the ladies' room where she promptly threw up. After a few minutes, she splashed her face with cold water, looked herself in the eye in the mirror and told herself to get a grip – for Jane's sake. She took another deep breath and went back into the bullpen. Lisbon was grateful when Rigsby looked up but didn't say anything.
"Has Bosco got anything from the warehouse yet?" she asked, focusing her attention on the practicalities. It was her way of coping.
"Uh…yes…and no. They found hi-tech equipment, projectors, sound systems, stuff like that….but no evidence of anyone being there."
"Well, someone had to be there. How else did they torment Jane with the picture show?" Lisbon was confused. There had to be something.
"Like I said, hi-tech stuff. The projector had a timer programme built into it. It was set to repeat and playback multiple video footage and sounds. Didn't need anyone to be there to operate it," explained Rigsby.
"But someone took Jane there. They had to have carried him in. He wouldn't have just walked in and sat himself down. What about the ropes? No skin cells?" Lisbon was desperate for some kind of lead.
"What about the van?"
"Only evidence so far is a smear of Jane's blood and what looks like the tip off a syringe. Forensics are testing it to find out what was used to subdue him."
Lisbon exhaled loudly and massaged the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger. "Okay. Get Bosco's team to trace the equipment. Someone had to purchase it. High-end stuff like that? Someone must remember who bought it." Her tension headache was getting worse. Van Pelt stepped in front of her holding a small piece of notepaper.
"Here's that number you asked me to track down." She handed it to her boss.
"Thank you," answered Lisbon, her eyes signalled her gratitude. She turned and went to her office.
There, she closed the door and went over to her desk. She picked up the handset and dialled the number. "Yes, hello…I'd like to speak with a Dr Sophie Miller please….yes, I'll hold."
SUTTER GENERAL HOSPITAL, Sacramento
Patrick Jane was in a world of torment. Garbled images flashed through his mind at warp speed; laughing children, clown faces, spinning around, bloody knives, screams of pain. His eyes grew wider and wider, but still they saw nothing of the outside world.
Dr Franks was growing more and more concerned. The benzodiazepines should have kicked in by now, but his patient seemed to be becoming agitated. He observed through the glass window into Jane's room and watched as muscle spasms wracked the poor man's exhausted body.
Suddenly, the doctor sprinted into the room shouting for assistance. Jane was having some sort of seizure. His arms were flailing about, fighting some invisible demon. The nurses held his arms and legs down as best they could whilst Franks injected Haldol into his IV. It took a few seconds but the antipsychotic drug began to have an effect and the flailing stopped. Jane seemed to go limp and fell into a drug induced sleep. Franks ordered restraints to be placed around his wrists and ankles and went to phone Lisbon.
CBI HQ, Sacramento
Van Pelt escorted Dr Sophie Miller into Lisbon's office just as the small brunette was putting her phone down. She stood up to greet her visitor.
"Dr Miller. Thank you for coming so soon." She outstretched her hand.
"Really, it was no bother. Anything to help Patrick," answered the blonde, returning the gesture. There was a look of genuine concern on her face.
Lisbon glanced at Van Pelt. It was unusual to hear someone use Jane's first name.
"Come on," she said. "I'll give you a ride to the hospital. That was Jane's doctor. Apparently he's had some sort of a seizure."
Lisbon filled Sophie in on the way to the hospital. She told her about the room, the video footage, Jane's catatonic stupor. Miller just nodded and listened. She knew exactly what Patrick was experiencing – she'd been through it with him before.
SUTTER GENERAL HOSPITAL, Sacramento
At first glance, Jane looked to be asleep, somewhat peacefully, but upon closer inspection, Sophie noticed that his eyeballs seemed to be rolling around at warp speed beneath his closed lids. She had insisted on entering his room alone. She moved towards the observation window and closed the blinds. She had to remove any outside stimulation if she was going to have any success in helping Jane.
Lisbon watched as the blinds closed. She continued to stare at her own, now visible, reflection for a few seconds before turning away and beginning to pace. She fervently hoped this would work. She knew how much of a help Dr. Miller had been to Jane in the aftermath of his family's massacre. It seemed only right to bring her in again. Lisbon sighed. All she could do now was wait, hope….and pray. She walked off to find the nearest coffee machine. This was going to be a long night.
"Patrick?" Sophie's voice was soft. Gently she placed her hand upon Jane's upper arm, just above his left elbow. "Patrick…it's me….Dr. Miller….I know you can hear me."
Jane didn't move physically but he seemed to inhale a little more deeply.
"I'm here to help you back. Can you see me?" Sophie continued. Her voice was tender and lilting.
Jane's eyes moved upwards and to his left underneath their lids, but remained closed. Sophie smiled. Good, he was remembering.
It had been nearly three hours, and several cups of bad coffee, since Lisbon had watched Sophie Miller close the blinds in Jane's room. She didn't know whether that was a good sign or not. She exhaled deeply and sat down on the hard plastic seat that she had placed outside the room. Her fingers tapped rapidly against the sides of the seat and she quickly placed them under her thighs. Almost immediately, her right foot began tapping on the floor. She stood up again, flexing her hands wide and pacing up and down. She hated waiting. She hated hospitals. She hated waiting in hospitals.
Suddenly, the door to Jane's room opened and Sophie stepped out. Lisbon almost leapt over to her. Quietly and carefully, Dr. Miller closed the door again. Lisbon's eyes unconsciously tried to look through the doorway but weren't quick enough.
"Well?" asked the worried agent. "How's he doing?"
Sophie looked at the diminutive brunette. She could sense a genuine concern in the young woman's eyes. She paused to find the right explanation before beginning.
"I'd hoped that this wouldn't happen."
Lisbon's look of concern deepened.
Miller continued. "It's clear Patrick has retreated back into his own place of safety – a place where all the hurt and suffering he has experienced no longer exists. He's in denial. There was always the danger that it would happen but he made such a strong recovery last time around that I believed he would be okay."
Lisbon's eyes were wide. She didn't want to think about the consequences of Jane not recovering from this. "But you can help him, right? I mean…you did it once, you can do it again…right?"
Sophie smiled and placed her hand on Lisbon's arm. She noted the deep concern, the hint of desperation on the agent's face. 'This woman cares deeply for Patrick' she thought to herself. It was easy to see why. She, herself, had found him to be very charming in his damaged state; strong-willed and yet vulnerable at the same time. It was an endearing quality. Her smile deepened. "Yes. I believe I can. There were signs just now that he would be willing to respond and return to us. He's a very strong-willed man, a fighter. I'm certain of it." Her solid eye contact gave Lisbon the reassurance she'd been seeking. The agent nodded and exhaled deeply.
"Thank you," she said quietly. Her gaze drifted to the floor.
"Any time," answered Sophie. "I'll come back first thing in the morning and talk with him again. These things can take time, so please have patience."
Lisbon nodded again; a small smile flickered on her face as she remembered Jane telling her the same thing. He, however, had done it in his usual chauvinistic manner whilst they were waiting for the killer to make his move during a stake-out at a hotel room. How had he phrased it? 'Patience, woman, patience…' Cho had been sent in as a Casanova and Lisbon hadn't believed it would work. She shook her head slightly, still smirking when she suddenly became aware of the silence between her and Sophie.
"Can I drop you somewhere? A hotel, maybe?" she asked the psychiatrist.
"Thanks. That would be great."
Trapped in an endless whirlwind of horrible images, Jane had the weirdest sensation that he no longer had any control over his thoughts or even his own eyeballs. He felt himself backing up, almost cowering from an unspeakable shadow that seemed to be consuming his very being. He feared the darkness. There seemed to be no way of side-stepping the shadow before it engulfed him.
It was then that a small shaft of light appeared to his left. For the briefest of seconds, he somehow managed to regain control of his eyeballs and diverted them in its direction. As they connected with the light something seemed to anchor them, so that the spinning stopped. He could hear something; something familiar – a voice. He couldn't quite make out the words but he felt that it was comforting. His breathing seemed to slow and relax. He felt that the shadow was, in some way retreating, slightly. The voice continued somewhere in the distance. The light grew a little brighter; bright enough to force the shadow a bit further away. The voice grew a little louder. It seemed to feed Jane's depleted energy reserves. Slowly he became aware of his left arm. There was a warm sensation in his biceps muscle. A feeling of calm began to wash over him as the voice continued. Though his eyes had remained closed for the entire time, his eyelids began to grow heavy. He was aware of his soft, rhythmic breathing; and for the time being slipped into an image and shadow-free slumber.
CBI HQ, Sacramento
"Eureka!" exclaimed Van Pelt. She had been searching through the paperwork faxed over by Iron Cuttings Ltd. in the hope that she could find something further about the alleged takeover by RJ Solutions. She held aloft a piece of paper.
"Whadd'ya got?" asked Cho. He and Rigsby wandered over to her desk which was now stacked high with paper. At the side of her was a cardboard carton, full of documents.
"The legal contract for the takeover bid. It contains the usual clauses and stuff….but get this….there is also an address for another company… According to the contract, this other company, a ....Renfrew Dimensions Incorporated…. was the major stakeholder in RJ Solutions when it was set up," explained Grace.
"Wait… Renfrew?" Cho's eyes drifted to the left as he retrieved the reason for the familiar sounding name. "Wasn't that the name of the guy Jane got out of prison? Said he knew who Red John was."
"Yeah….Yeah," agreed Rigsby enthusiastically, remembering. "But Red John got to him and killed him before he could tell us anything. I remember." He looked at Grace. "Are you saying he was the one who put up the money for RJ Solutions?"
Van Pelt nodded. "That's what it says here. Renfrew put up $500,000." She stopped to mull it over. "But I thought Renfrew said that he shared a cell with someone who knew Red John, and that that was his connection to him."
"Guess he was lying. If this contract is real, then Renfrew knew Red John long before he was sent to prison." Rigsby was considering where this new lead was going to take them. "I'll let Lisbon know." Quickly, he made his way over to his desk and picked up the handset of his phone.
Lisbon had just dropped Dr. Miller off when her cell phone rang. It was Rigsby. He filled her in on Van Pelt's findings.
"Great. Tell Grace, nice work."
"Will do….Boss?" asked Rigsby.
"How's Jane doing?"
The rest of the team were just as concerned as Lisbon, but she'd deliberately kept them away from the hospital. She needed them to investigate, to keep their eye on the ball. Now she felt a slight pang of guilt as she realised that they also cared what happened to him. He'd become part of the team; their own little dysfunctional family unit.
Lisbon tried to sound upbeat. "Dr Miller says he's showing signs of progress." She paused. "He'll be fine." She wasn't sure who she was trying to convince more.
"Okay. I'll let the others know." Rigsby hung up.
SUTTER GENERAL HOSPITAL, Sacramento
Lisbon arrived at the hospital the next morning to find Sophie already there, as promised. Dr. Franks informed the agent that the psychiatrist had been there a couple of hours. Lisbon was grateful. She'd tried to get some sleep last night but ended up tossing and turning and worrying about Jane alone in his world of pain. She figured Dr. Miller had felt the same way. There was something in the good doctor's eyes that suggested there were some feelings for Jane, other than those of a professional capacity. Lisbon had noticed it the last time they'd met, when Jane was trying to prove that Sophie had nothing to do with the murder of her ex-husband. The dreamy look on Miller's face and the way her eyes kept drifting down to Jane's mouth when talking to him only confirmed it. Lisbon smirked to herself, Jane's observational skills must be rubbing off on her.
Sophie had placed her hand on Jane's arm again, in the same place. Her other hand rested on top of his, her thumb gently pressing against the base of his thumb. She was in the middle of guiding him back.
"Patrick…I want you to go to the safe place in the forest…You see it?....Are you there yet?" She squeezed his hand softly. There was a twitch in reponse. "Okay, good…..Now I want you to imagine a golden circle of light around you….It is a protective ring….nothing bad can get to you. Just relax in its glow."
She paused momentarily to allow him time to visualise. She observed his closed eyelids closely. His eyes had drifted upwards to his right. She smiled. "Okay, Patrick…you're doing really well. Now I want you to imagine another golden circle just in front of yours. The edges of the two rings are just touching each other to form a circle of eight." She paused again. "Now…in your hand you have a beam of blue neon light. I want you to point it at the other circle and watch as it starts to go round the edge of the ring in a clockwise direction."
Jane's index finger twitched. Sophie smiled and squeezed his arm gently. She continued. "Good. Keep watching the blue light as it goes round and round, slowly at first, maybe getting faster, but always moving….Now, I want you to let the blue light cross over and go round the ring you are standing in. Watch it go round in an anti-clockwise direction, this time."
She left him picturing this for a couple of minutes, listening to his rhythmic breathing and checking to make sure he was still in a relaxed state. "Patrick, now let the light go around both rings, in a figure of eight. Clockwise, then anti-clockwise, constantly moving, round and round." Her voice trailed off a little. Her eyes drifted to his mouth and then back up to his closed eyelids. She took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly, but audibly. "Relax. Feel the safety. Feel the calm. Enjoy the sensations."
Jane felt calm. The comforting voice had returned. He was now surrounded by trees and was standing in a golden circle of light. He felt safe. Though he seemed to be in a forest, there were no shadows. He breathed deeply, and watched as another ring appeared followed by a blue pulsating glow which wound its way around the conjoined circles. The hypnotic voice in the distance seemed to be giving him instructions to put the demon shadow in the other circle. Fear gripped him for a second but the glow of his own protective light grew in intensity and he felt safe once more. In his hand he held the blue neon light the voice had told him about. He pointed it towards the shadow. A laser pulse flew from it and the shadow shattered into a myriad of pieces. As they fell to the ground within the opposite ring, they were replaced by photos depicting Jane's wife and child. Their images smiled at him. His daughter laughed. His wife blew a kiss. Jane stood in his own circle and felt their warmth envelop him. He smiled.
Sophie noticed as Jane's mouth began to form a gentle, content smile. She began to guide him out of the forest, taking a path which passed a waterfall. She encouraged him to feel the sensation of the drops on his face, washing away the fear and the pain, giving him a sense of renewal. She allowed him to investigate a couple of twists in the path by himself before guiding him towards the final gateway. Her voice trailed off quietly as she whispered to him to open the gate and step through in his own time.
Jane's eyelids flickered briefly. Slowly, he opened them and tried to focus.
"Hello, Patrick," said Sophie. "Welcome back." She smiled.
"Hello, Dr Miller," he responded. There was innocent curiosity in his voice and eyes, like a child who had fallen asleep on a car journey and woken up at their destination wondering how they got there.
Lisbon's shoulders slumped as she exhaled heavily. She wiped away a tear that was forming at the corner of her eye and looked to the ground quickly.
"Thank you, so much, Sophie." Against her better nature, she found herself hugging the doctor in front of her. Hearing that Jane had regained consciousness was the best news she'd heard for a long time it seemed.
There had been so many let downs on some of the new leads in the Red John case:- Bosco's team had been unable to trace the purchase of the hi-tech equipment because it hadn't been purchased; it had been stolen. And the investigating officers on that case had had no luck in finding any evidence whatsoever.
The CEO of the company that was bought by RJ Solutions had turned up at CBI HQ with all the relevant documentation but imparted the devastating news that no one had in fact had any physical or verbal contact with Roy Tagliaferro; everything had been done via email or fax or through lawyers. And Rigsby and Cho were getting the run around from lawyers claiming client-attorney privilege. Van Pelt was working on getting a warrant.
There were still a couple of other leads to follow up on, such as the Renfrew connection, but right now Lisbon was more concerned with seeing for herself that Jane was really going to be okay.
"Can I see him?" she asked.
Sophie smiled. "Sure. But keep it light. Try to maintain normality. Don't mention anything to do with the case. He's still not fully with us yet. It's going to take a while." She held the door open. Lisbon stepped inside.
Jane had his eyes closed. Quietly she stepped towards the left side of his bed. She looked at him in silence for a few moments before noticing a chair behind her. Without making a sound, she brought it closer to the bedside and sat down. She rested her hand on Jane's. Her fingers automatically began to stroke his skin. Her gaze dropped downwards as she began to connect with her feelings about this man. It snapped back at the sound of his voice.
"Isn't it against one of your so-called laws to molest a sleeping patient?" he asked sleepily.
Lisbon smiled. "I didn't think you cared about laws….and besides….I wasn't molesting you." She feigned horror at the mere suggestion.
"Oh, I don't. Well, only if they affect me….and you were definitely doing something," he responded. He raised an eyebrow to emphasize.
"Was not!" Lisbon said childishly, a frown appeared just above the bridge of her nose.
"Were too!" Jane could be just as childish.
"I was merely…" Lisbon began to blush. She wasn't quite sure what she was doing.
"Merely what….?" Jane was looking at her closely now, reading her expressions and she knew it. Her cheeks had become a little more rosy-coloured.
Lisbon scolded him. "Stop! I think I preferred you when you didn't speak."
Jane pulled a face and turned his head away. "Well, if that's how you feel…" he said childishly.
She tried to speak to him but he just held up his hand and kept interrupting her each time with a "Nope!"
Lisbon stood up abruptly. She decided to play along with this nonsense because it felt like normality had been restored, and she was enjoying herself. "Okay. Fine." She turned to leave.
Realising he was about to lose his visitor, Jane turned back towards her and, with a childishly pathetic tone and facial expression to match, pleaded with her to bring him something to eat.
"Pleeease…I'm a tad peckish," he said, and smiled widely. "They haven't been feeding me," he complained.
"You've been unconscious!" exclaimed Lisbon.
Jane waved his hand dismissively. "Mehhh! Details." His eyes pleaded again.
Lisbon sighed. Who could resist? She shook her head, told him to get some rest and that she would see what she could do.
"Oh and Lisbon…" he said, this time there was a slightly more serious tone to his voice. She looked back at him. "…Thank you." She could see by his expression that he wasn't just talking about the food. She acknowledged with an understanding nod of her eyes and left the room.
CBI HQ, Sacramento, several weeks later.
Jane sat on the end of his leather couch folding a piece of paper. Origami was quite therapeutic. He hadn't quite mastered the art completely yet but there was an ever-increasing menagerie of paper animals beginning to collect dust on the small filing cabinet at the side of the couch.
Minnelli wandered in to the bull-pen. He acknowledged the consultant's presence with a short greeting. "Jane."
"Virgil," replied Jane.
"Everything okay?" asked the Special Agent in Charge, looking around.
"A – Okay," responded Jane and gestured the same with his hand. "If you're looking for Lisbon she's not here. She went out to get closed case donuts…though I'm not sure which case we've closed….and also…" Conspiratorially, he leaned forward and added, "…I don't think she needs anymore glucose in her system, if you know what I mean."
It was at that precise moment that Lisbon walked into the bull-pen.
"Oh, hey Lisbon!" greeted Jane, innocently. She just glared at him, and then looked at Minnelli.
"You want me for something, boss?" she asked.
Minnelli raised his chin and inhaled the air, as if sniffing out an explanation to give her. He surveyed the room. Rigsby and Cho were standing by a desk debating over which donut to have, Van Pelt wandered in with some plates, Jane was still folding his pieces of paper and Lisbon was still looking at him expectantly.
"Uh…As you were…Agent Lisbon," he simply said and then headed back to his office.
Lisbon pulled a 'that was weird' puzzled look, and then shrugged. She pointed at Rigsby and Cho and shouted, "Hey, the one with the sprinkles is mine!"
Jane inhaled deeply. Lisbon looked at him. "What?"
He held up his hands defensively, still holding his paper frog in between his thumb and index finger. His eyes were wide and his eyebrows were raised. "Not saying a word!" he exclaimed, and then mimed the act of sealing his lips and turning a key at the corner of his mouth.
Lisbon narrowed her eyes at him, sighed and turned back to the task of confiscating her donut from Rigbsy.
Jane sat and watched his colleagues enjoying each others company. His thoughts turned inwardly and he smiled to himself.
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