Footprints Dressed In Red

Disclaimer: Don't own anything.

Rating: T

Spoiler: Mentions of 1.23 and 2.23.

A/N: My very late, very spontaneous addition to the IPOD Fic Challenge. I had forthecoast beta it, in order for some these to make actual sense, but each one was written for the duration of the song. Great writing experience, I highly recommend it! Enjoy.

xxx

I.

"The Wind Cries Mary"- Jimi Hendrix

He's sitting on his couch, eyes closed, as he leans his head against the back of the sofa. It's dark outside but the window is ajar next to where he sits, and the wind rushes in, warm and inviting.

It's summer, and it feels almost incredibly perfect, except his tranquility is interrupted when there's movement outside the bullpen. He sees a flash of red, then hears a quick click of heels behind the door.

He stands on his own, walks over to the source of the movement.

Knocks.

"Hey, you're back. Did you forget something?"

She looks up from the desk and the anguish on her face is palpable. The wind rushing in from the window now doesn't have such a pleasant feel. Instead the rush leaves a chill on his spine, goose bumps rising on his skin as he peers into her green eyes.

"No, I just had to be here."

Then through the sadness, a hint of a smile, and he smiles back.

The wind feels pleasant again.

xxx

II.

"Never Tear Us Apart"- Joe Cocker

He's standing outside of the house, watching the action unfurl. The forensics team and the ME have arrived. The entrance of the bungalow is ajar, and he watches blankly as they wheel the body out and four men put it in the back of the ME's van.

She walks out right after, and their eyes meet. Before he realizes what's happening, she's walking towards him, her gait as purposeful as ever. There's no hint of a smile on her face, but her green eyes are shining and when she falls into his arms, he holds her.

Clings to her warmth.

"Thank you," she whispers, and he pretends not to hear her, because he's not ready to face everything that he has…or really, hasn't done.

Doesn't want to acknowledge that she's the likely reason he made the impulsive decision to forgo his revenge.

He can't face that just yet, but he can hold her and he does, wrapping his arms around her, standing underneath the tree by this house. The house where his greatest nemesis met his death not by Jane's hand but by a member of the SWAT team who didn't even know whom he was shooting at, didn't know how much that masked man had done.

And as much as he thought he'd be broken, he's not.

Because she's here.

"No," he says pulling her back, "thank you."

xxx

III.

"Wasting My Time"- Default

She doesn't understand her own desire to protect the people in her life so fiercely. She can't fathom why she yearns to seal their every fracture.

Patrick Jane is no exception.

If anything, he's the reason why she shouldn't be doing this, why she shouldn't be trying to extend a hand to anyone at all.

He's the example of someone who is clearly beyond repair.

There's only so much a man can take and losing his two greatest loves because of his own arrogance is something that would break even the most composed and strongest of individuals.

But at the end of the day, she supposes she does it, because she doesn't truly believe it's his fault. He wasn't the one wielding the knife after all, and no amount of provocation is going to force someone to kill unless he or she wants to.

She has to believe that, because otherwise she knows she's wasting her time, putting effort into emptiness, and God knows she's done that with almost all the men in her life. And she's sick of not getting anything in return, sick of putting so much energy but never getting anything back.

But then one day, after a particularly rough case, she'll open her bottom drawer, contemplate taking that bottle of tequila out, and she'll catch him standing in the door of her office.

And he's not saying anything, he's just watching her.

But he's there.

And she shuts the drawer and puts away the tequila, and it's then that she realizes that maybe he's piecing her back together instead of the other way around.

xxx

IV.

"Sweetest Goodbye"- Maroon 5

There are hands everywhere, lips moving in unison, dropping kisses on any piece of exposed skin.

She looks at him only once, worried that if they connect on that level, the little fantasy they have here will be ruined. She'll have to confront that this is probably the one and only time they'll allow themselves to be so reckless.

Sex won't change anything.

It won't change his need for vengeance or her allegiance to her badge, but it feels so incredibly good, so right…

She shudders involuntarily as he presses her against the door of her bedroom. It's closed and she fiddles with the knob, sending them falling into the room, almost not making it to the bed.

And then he's there, inside her, claiming her, and that's all that matters. This time she's not afraid to look at him, meets his eye head on. The clarity she sees there, the almost translucent shade of his blue irises sends a shiver down her spine so intense it precipitates her downfall, sending her over the edge, and she's clutching to him, sinking into his warm body, letting him hold her.

Not a day ago, he saved her life.

Shot a man to protect her.

And when she holds him now, feverish skin pressed against her, day old stubble scratching her shoulder, she thinks this is the sweetest goodbye she could ask for something that ended before it began.

xxx

V.

"Green Eyes"- Coldplay

He thinks about her sometimes, and the one thing that stands out is her eyes. They have so many changing shades, so many different meanings to them.

They shine when she's happy.

They brim with unshed tears when she's sad.

They sparkle when she exposes some of her devilish side.

And they fill with compassion and concern when she's worried.

Usually she's worried for him. Worried that he's too far gone, worried that she may never pull him out again.

He lies to her because doesn't want her to worry.

He lies because it's easier if he keeps her at arm's length. That way Red John can't get to her, can't make her a pawn in his deadly chess game.

He lies because he's so afraid of losing her, afraid that she won't survive whatever happens, because somehow this wicked man who murdered his family is always one step ahead of him, so Red John must somehow know how much this spitfire of a detective means to him.

And so he sits on this couch, mulling Red John's words over in his head, like a constantly repeating record, and when she walks over to him, green eyes boring into him, asking him silently not to deceive her, he does.

Because he can't lose her.

He won't.

He won't know how to live without her.

xxx

VI.

"Like a Stone"- Audioslave

He's tired of spending his nights sleeping, or not sleeping, in this room, but he can't bear to part with it.

It's his own personal prison.

He realizes now that perhaps that was Red John's intention all along, to goad him with the presence of that smiley face for the rest of his life.

The serial killer probably knew that he'd be unable to part with this property, where his greatest joy and greatest sorrow collided.

Where his child was conceived and murdered.

Where his wife played beautiful music and where they had bitter disagreements.

Red John is an artist, a master of his craft, and Jane wonders sometimes if his goal isn't actually in murdering people, but in tormenting their loved ones. After all, he's almost certain, despite his utter disbelief in heaven, that his wife and child are in a much better place than he is in now.

And for the most part, he lives in his own personal hell, a little bubble of self loathing and guilt.

What he hopes Red John doesn't know though, is that sometimes, using a spare key he knows she keeps under the door mat, Jane finds himself in a house where there are no smiley faces, no pianos, no pink bicycles or Lego sets that remind him what he'd lost and what he's bled.

There's a place for him to remember that he's still a human being; one person reminds him that he can break out of that bubble, can break through the walls confining him.

Can learn to feel again, because he might still be worthy of being fixed.

xxx

VII.

"Killer Queen" - Queen

"You have quite the taste in alcohol, Agent Lisbon."

He sidles up to her as she tips the champagne flute to her mouth, ruby red lips curved into a half smirk like only she can.

"Well, I happen to enjoy the finer things in life." She says cheekily, still not looking at him, instead focusing on the dance floor where the best of the Sacramento task force are mingling and dancing.

He's standing behind her, so it gives him the opportunity to admire her in the dark green dress she's wearing. It's short and sleeveless and accentuates everything about her figure that he loves, and when she looks over her shoulder to smile at him, he knows that she's aware of the effect she has on him, even though he's excellent in maintaining his facial expression.

And he can't help himself in saying, "oh, I do too."

Before taking her to the dance floor.

xxx

VIII.

"Rest Stop"- Matchbox 20

They're driving to another city for a crime scene. Jane's not doing much, just occasionally fiddling with the radio station and munching on an apple, as he watches the scenery fly by, but something just ticks her off.

Maybe it's his nonchalance after he's spent the last two months lying to her about what Red John said, maybe its how deceptively normal everything has been sense then, but something really snaps inside her and her anger unfurls.

She pulls over to the side of the road, cutting off three vehicles in the process, and Jane looks a little winded when she cuts the engine, unclips her seat belt. and gets out.

Confused, he follows her, finds her pacing back and forth along the deserted rest stop. The hot sun bears down on them, but she appears completely unflustered.

All black, black hair, black pants, black shirt, and she's pacing like a fury.

"Lisbon," he says quietly, throwing the apple away.

She stops, looks at him for a moment, fists curled at her sides, and her glare is so murderous he feels a little nauseous.

"I just wanted to tell you." she starts, then stops, as if she's afraid to say it.

"What?" He prompts almost fearfully, hand reaching out to grab her arm, but she flinches away, keeping her livid gaze on him.

It's turned cold by this point, almost steely, and suddenly he realizes what she means, even before she speaks.

"I've had enough. I'm done with you."

xxx

IX.

"Everybody Loves Me" OneRepublic

She's walking down the hallway when she sees the secretaries from the third floor huddled around the vending machine giggling to themselves.

Some of them are older than she is, and yet they're acting like immature school girls.

She keeps walking, rolling her eyes with an amused smile, until she realizes there's only one man who can make nearly middleaged women swoon like teenagers.

Her smile disintegrates, and she turns on her heel, stalking back to the kitchenette to find Jane innocently pouring hot water into his teacup.

"Jane,"

He turns around at her stern voice, grin in place as he greets her.

"Yes, my dear?"

"What did you do to make all the secretaries on our floor into salivating messes and don't try to lie to me."

He smiles at her lazily before striding over with his teacup and taking a satisfied sip. He doesn't answer her for a while, just watches her annoyed expression with amusement, conceding only when he knows she's about to snap. Then he leans in, his breath tickling her ear.

"I can't help that everybody loves me, Lisbon."

xxx

X.

"Back Together"- Citizen Cope

The California sun seems a little too oppressive at the moment, but she doesn't mind, keeping her sunglasses firmly perched on the bridge of her nose as she scans the crowd.

The sheer number of beach bums on the boardwalk is awe-inspiring, but it is late August and Californians aren't exactly well known for staying indoors.

It's also incredibly hot, and she regrets not changing into her bathing suit before leaving the house. Fortunately, the little table in the café she's sitting at is nicely positioned under a veranda that provides shade, so she's not completely sweltering.

Besides, the fruity drink in her hand is nothing if not refreshing.

Her attention falls on a group of children blowing bubbles into the air, so she doesn't even notice when he joins her table until he reaches across the top and touches her wrist.

She looks up, and the sight of him so close, tanned skin, shining turquoise eyes, the same impeccably golden curls atop his head.

It's like the years haven't aged him at all, and she smiles brightly in spite of herself.

"Long time, no see." He says, grinning like the Cheshire cat that he is.

And she laughs, because really nothing has changed.

xxx