Disclaimer: Bruno Heller created the Mentalist, and I am not, nor have I ever been, Bruno Heller. This is pure creative indulgence.
My thanks to beta readers Bobbi D, whom I've known since I was 5, and who tells me the truth; Wilma in The Netherlands, who encouraged me to add extra chapters (which I'm glad I did!), and Lia Walker for her thorough beta/editing help. Any remaining errors belong to me!
Recap episode up to this point: Senator Melinda Batson's intern, Kristen Marley, has been murdered and dumped off a bridge, minus one shoe. This is the episode in which Jane noticed that the stain above his leather couch that usually looked like Elvis suddenly looked like a hound dog. It turned out the couch had been moved by the janitor when he supposedly changed a light bulb.
Jane suspected that the senator's marriage was a sham, and that the man posing as her husband was having an affair with the intern. When evidence that Jane talked about in the office failed to appear where Jane predicted, he began to suspect they were being spied on. Jane discovered a listening device in the light above the couch, casting suspicion on the new janitor, Art Cavaleri. Jane set a trap to catch the janitor in the act. Jane announced that he had placed "important evidence" in the upper right drawer of Lisbon's desk that was too valuable to move. That night, after normal CBI hours, the janitor returned to Lisbon's office and opened the drawer to gather the evidence. Jane confronted the janitor from one side of the office, and Lisbon confronted him with her gun drawn from the other side. They asked him who hired him to spy on them, but he claimed he has no idea what they were talking about. When Lisbon told him he was an accessory to murder, Cavaleri suddenly claimed he wasn't feeling well and needed to sit.
This alternate ending story takes off from there, just before Cavaleri turns the tables…
CHAPTER 1: Lisbon
The next ten seconds flew past in a blur. Lisbon never would have believed the janitor could move so fast. As Cavaleri made a move to sit and Jane reached out to stop him, the man hurled a file folder at Lisbon's face. She heard Jane cry out in surprise, followed by the sound of a quick gasp, and in the short blink it took her to bat away the folder and raise her gun, the janitor had pulled a knife and held it pressed to Jane's throat. Cavaleri's left arm encircled Jane's shoulder, pulling him close. Jane was a hostage; a human shield. Lisbon's eyes darted from the gleaming blade to Cavaleri, and then to Jane's face, which held a look of distress she'd never seen before, the color draining rapidly from his face. She gripped her gun expertly.
"Let him go!" Lisbon ordered, her gun trained on the attacker, her grip steady.
He pushed the knife tip into Jane's skin, just enough to pierce it. "I don't think so." The man watched Lisbon's eyes dart from Jane back to him and he smiled. "Put the gun down," he ordered dangerously as Lisbon hesitated for an instant.
An agent never gives up their weapon. But this didn't qualify as an "ordinary" hostage situation. What should she do? Jane was one of their own—in nearly every way that counted.
"Last chance—put down your gun with two fingers and slide it across the floor," Cavaleri repeated more emphatically, as a thin line of blood traced its way down Jane's exposed neck and into his crisp light blue shirt. The fabric greedily soaked up the blood and a dark red stain began to spread.
Lisbon locked her eyes onto the janitor's, although she had been taught to watch the chest to anticipate an attacker's moves. She had learned from Jane that the eyes truly could be the window to the soul. Cavaleri's eyes were hard; nearly black, and she saw no hint of mercy. How the Hell had this man passed a background check? She suspected she knew.
She spoke in her famously level and slow drawl, which belied the rapid pounding in her chest, "That's enough; I get it. I'm putting the gun down. Don't hurt him." She spread both her hands in front of her, holding her gun with two fingers as she slowly crouched to place it on the floor. She saw Jane's breathing quicken, and stole another quick look at his face, which held both fear and defiance. "Jane? You're going to be fine. Just stay calm."
He shuddered slightly, his face tight, but he didn't answer. Lisbon both saw and felt his blue gaze boring into her, trying to communicate with her. She ignored the slight flutter in the back of her mind. She needed him to stay alert, not freak out about the knife or say something foolish and get them both killed. Her weapon, their only defense, lay at Cavaleri's feet, and then he kicked it across the room.
"Now your cell phone."
Lisbon complied. She sent up a brief prayer that Cavaleri wouldn't leave the building with Jane. "We could work a plea with the DA. But if you leave this office with a hostage, you've entered a whole new game."
"Now get your cuffs," Cavaleri ordered, ignoring her words and inclining his head toward the nearest exit.
"This isn't going to work," Lisbon countered, shaking her head. She heard a high-pitched wheeze from Jane as he swallowed past the pressure at the side of his throat. "Ease up on that thing, will you? I'm doing what you said. Don't hurt him," she repeated carefully.
"The door. Hook yourself up."
She noticed the sheen of perspiration forming on Jane's face. He's freaking out, she thought with alarm. "Everybody just stay calm." Sheclicked the first cuff to her wrist, then the other one to the door, her gun well out of reach. "Think about that plea. We want whoever hired you. We want Kristen Marley's murderer."
The janitor chuckled tensely. "I think I'll just take my chances. They're looking pretty good right now." To Jane, he said, "We're going to walk out of here," then he whispered something in Jane's ear that Lisbon couldn't hear.
As the janitor began to edge toward the door with Jane as his hostage, the clanging noise of a door opening broke the tense silence and a flashlight beam began to bounce off the walls and windows surrounding the office. One of the night security guards had come from the stairwell to do his normal rounds. A voice squawked to life on his hand-held radio. As it became apparent that the security guard was heading their way, the janitor cursed and released Jane with a hard shove, and ran out the door opposite the guard.
Jane grunted, stumbled, and then steadied himself, dazed, with a hand on Lisbon's desk. His other hand reached up to touch the blood on his throat. He blinked slowly, looking nauseated. The night security guard stood in complete shock—trying to absorb the implausible scene he walked in on.
"Go after him!" Lisbon yelled to Jane. The danger was gone—what was the hold up?
"No…." Jane said sounding very detached, all remaining color draining from his face as he leaned heavily on the desk.
Lisbon, now angry, yelled louder. "He's getting away!"
Jane sagged slightly, but didn't head for the door.
"Ma'am?" the guard said, stunned.
Lisbon turned from Jane. "We need that guy! Find out where he goes! Go! Now! Go!"
The security guard snapped out of his frozen state and ran after the fleeing janitor.
Lisbon glared at Jane. "Keys please," she pointed to where she had thrown her keys.
Jane closed his eyes and opened them drowsily. "Sorry Lisbon. I know you're angry. I…" he whispered before he turned his head and vomited all over her desk.
Lisbon frowned and rolled her eyes. "Oh my God, Jane! On my desk? It's barely a scratch, come on! I need you to uncuff me!"
Jane turned back toward her, now looking slightly green.
"It's just a little blood—you've had worse cuts from shaving!" She watched, helplessly as her colleague's eyes rolled back into his head and his knees buckled. She grimaced as the side of his face slammed into the edge of her desk with a hard thud as he fell bonelessly to the floor, where he stayed, unmoving.
"Fainted?" Lisbon yelled incredulously, her mouth agape. "Are you kidding me? We don't have TIME for this!" She yanked futilely on the cuffs and tried to nudge Jane with her foot, but he was out of reach. "Jane!"
She scowled down at the still form of Jane. She didn't expect him to be Dirty Harry. He was one hundred percent Patrick Jane. But give me a break!
The suspect got away, Jane fainted, she gave up her weapon, and was handcuffed with her own cuffs in her own office, which now smelled like puke laced with too much tea. Not exactly a shining moment in her career. Bosco would never let her live it down. To top it off, they were going to be upstaged by Stan the security guard, who was currently doing her job for her. "Dammit!" If Jane would at least wake up and uncuff her, he could faint and throw up all he wanted to later—outside her office. She looked at her consultant again, and something in her mind clicked: this was out of character, not Jane at all.
What she could see of his face looked pale.
Ghostly pale, except for the dark purple line on his face that was swelling rapidly.
She looked again at the small puncture wound on his neck. It was no longer dripping. Maybe it was the fact that the blood—his blood—came from a knife. Maybe he was flashing back to the night Red John murdered his family. She knew a little about the horrors he relived every day, every night. Maybe he had anticipated being sliced open as Red John had done to his family, and it just overwhelmed him. Maybe, and she hated to even think it, Jane had had another breakdown. Lisbon took a deep breath but quickly regretted it as she inhaled the putrid smell wafting over from her desk.
Not his fault.
Jane's not a cop.
Maybe he has the right to faint in this case, under these circumstances.
Her expression softened, and with it, her voice. "Come on Jane, time to wake up."