The Red John murders were part of the media for months. The first headline detailing that he had been killed, and that the reign of terror was over, was the first indication that things were over. It was when the news had started to sink in for each of them that they had done their jobs well, that they had not only caught the serial killer and prevented him from hurting anybody else, but they'd also prevented their friend and colleague from being the one to kill him, knowing that murder in cold blood would end with Jane in prison for a very long time, and in a worst case scenario, execution may have been on the table for him. But that was not the case, all that was left for them to clean up was the paperwork and Jane's kitchen, which a local unit had cleaned up after Cho's call at the scene.
Red John's real name had been Jonathan Scarlett. Even with his name he'd attempted to give them clues about his identity, Jane realised afterwards. He was forty-five years old on the day that Cho had killed him, and there was nobody that would miss him. Grace had tracked down his parents, Matilda and Andrew Scarlett, and they had the grisly task of informing the aging couple that their son had been the infamous serial killer, and that he was now dead. It had been a harrowing experience, to break the news, but it was better that they hear it from the agents than to hear it on the news. The media attacked the breakthrough quickly, and by the time they left the Scarlett house they heard about the news on the radio.
Jonathan Scarlett had been married once, his wife and eight-year-old daughter had been in a car accident, a drunk driver who had taken their lives without even realising that they had a home to go to. His first victim had been his wife's best friend, who criticised the state he was allowing himself to live in after their deaths. It had also been why Jane's family had been killed. He had seen Jane publicly slander him and he knew that the ultimate pain was to lose ones family, so he killed them. After that, after killing a child, he had lost his soul, and killing became his passion. It could have been argued, that if he had gone to court for the offences, that some lawyer with no morals would have represented him and tried to convince the jury that Jonathan Scarlett suffered from a severe mental illness, and wasn't aware of the implications of his actions, and there was a chance that he may have escaped jail and the death sentence.
There was an explanation for how he had gained the knowledge to spy on them in the way that he did – he had worked full-time as a private investigator. They had considered a history with law enforcement or a similar occupation, and meeting with his parents had confirmed that. He was a white middle class male, as the cliché went, but he wasn't a dysfunctional loner, despite his inability to cope with the death of his family. He'd been an active member of his community, and had contributed greatly to his church after he'd lost his family.
It had all been a chilling reminder of what the outcome could have been for Jane, after he lost his family.
Hightower gave them all time off when the case was over, a fortnight of paid leave in return for their services to the Red John case. During this time, Jane turned up on Cho's doorstep, with a bottle of his favoured poison. It wasn't the best thanks in the world, but it was genuine, and it was enough for Cho, who had required no thanks anyway. He did it not because it was his duty as an officer to protect a life in danger, in this case Jane's, but also because Jane was his friend, and they were now bound in the proverbial "if I killed someone, would you help me hide the body" way.
Every member of the CBI Serious Crimes team, including Jane, received a medal in commemoration of what they had done for the civilians by ridding the world of Red John. Wayne Rigsby, Grave Van Pelt, Teresa Lisbon and Patrick Jane all received the Police Star, awarded for performance with exceptional judgement and utilising skilful tactics in order to diffuse dangerous and stressful situations. Kimball Cho, the one who had pulled the trigger on Red John, received the Police Medal for Heroism, awarded for bravery and individual acts of heroism in the line of duty. Virgil Minnelli had been there alongside Madeleine Hightower to watch the agents receive their thanks.
Each of them, afterwards, had the chance to show off their medals to their families. Jane watched as they all moved around, not caring about the cameras and reporters that watched how the newly-claimed heroes reacted with their families. He was pleased to see that he'd been right about how Grace had come from a very close, loving family. Her father was embracing her proudly, her mother putting her arms around the both of them. Grace was the smaller image of her mother, but the determination in her eyes had come, as he always suspected, from her ex-football coach father. There was an elder man and woman standing to the side of them, and the matching rings on their fingers signalled that they were her brother and his wife. The brother was definitely elder than her, because of the way he ruffled her hair with blatant disregard for the formality of the service when he hugged her.
Wayne stood off to a far side with his mother, his sister, and his two nephews. Wayne's father was not there, but Jane knew there was a reason for this, a reason that he suspected lead to the small disappointment in his eyes. Deep down, Wayne was still a little boy begging for his father's approval, much like Jane had been up until a point. Still, his mother cried as she hugged him, his sister put her hand on his arm, and they both embraced him as if they were proud enough for his father not to matter. Jane, however, knew otherwise, but he still managed a smile when he noticed the way that Grace watched him across the room when he allowed both his young nephews to climb over him.
Cho was a smaller gathering, with just his mother and his girlfriend, but the recognition in their eyes at how honoured he was today was almost mind-blowing. He understood that Cho had a close relationship with his mother, but you could see from across the room that this was not just an honouring for his service on the Red John case, but also that this was a symbol of him making up for his past, for his gang trouble. This was the end chapter of the book he had spent turning pages on his behaviour. A civilly honoured officer of the law, yet he still hugged his mother like a good boy, and she still smiled with a reassurance that she had raised a fine man. And she had. Jane even had the temptation to go over and tell her that, and in any other situation he might have, but today was Cho's main day and he would let him spend it with his family.
So he turned away from the other agents and he watched the one family gathering that almost bought tears to his eyes to watch. Teresa Lisbon had descended the stage with her medal pinned to her chest and clapped eyes upon three tall men, wearing identical suits, shifting around as if just wearing them was painful for them. Her eyes had misted over, her beaming smile covering her face, and Jane had seen that it had taken all of her composure not to run to them. He knew that she'd invited her younger brothers to the ceremony, but they hadn't confirmed whether or not they were going – he could see why they hadn't told her they were though, as the surprise on her face was beautiful. He watched from a small distance away, close enough to hear her admired voice commenting on how smart they all looked, and that she couldn't believe that they came, and how it was so nice to see them all standing civilly together – he was also close enough to see the lone tear that did escape when they announced that before the ceremony they had gotten together for a talk and put their differences behind them – because if she could stop a serial killer, they could at least do that. So Jack, who had helped Teresa when her son had been taken from her, and Danny and Tommy, who had spend three harrowing days of their teenage years searching their surroundings for their lost nephew, all embraced her together, and when they pulled away she wasn't ashamed to have happy tears on her face. She had raised these boys in their parents absence, and she was proud to have them all with her today, as if that were greater recognition for her life's work rather than the medal she'd been awarded.
Then, from around the corner, more people had joined them – three woman, two a similar age to Teresa, the third younger and pregnant, and five small children. It was then, when the family appeared, that she had caught his eye and dragged him over. Jane had been shocked, but surprised as he was formally introduced to Jack, his wife Sinead and their daughters, eight-year-old Ruby and three-year-old Summer; Danny, his girlfriend Michelle and their three sons, six-year-old Charlie, four-year-old James, and one-year-old Michael, who was currently in Lisbon's arms; and Tommy and his pregnant girlfriend Hannah, their baby expected only a month from now. Of course, they were generally positive towards him, and he felt a warm feeling coming from them that he now felt from Teresa herself. But what touched him the most was how Lisbon had introduced him to her brothers.
"This is Patrick Jane," she'd said, as Jack, the eldest brother, leaned out and shook his hand.
"You torturing this guy?" he asked his sister with a laugh.
"No, actually," she corrected. "I love him."
And by the time they reached the after party that Minelli was throwing for the team and their families at his home, Jane had astounded little Ruby, Charlie, James and Summer with his tricks, while Lisbon was happy to spend some time with baby Michael, who she'd only met the once. The loss of their child, something each of them had suffered in their lives, wasn't forgotten, but it was set aside for the afternoon so that they could revel in a new sense of family, a greater sense of belonging. Before long, Cho's mother was scolding the youngest Lisbon, Tommy, for taking the last ham sandwich that Marcus, Rigsby's nephew had been reaching for. Lisbon's eldest nephew, Charlie, had struck up a sudden friendship with Rigsby's other nephew, Samuel, and the two of them were running rings around all of the adults. Grace was sat in a garden chair beside Lisbon, each of them entertaining a child, with Grace meeting baby Michael while Lisbon ended up being the naptime mattress for little Summer.
And Jane watched, he watched and he wondered if this is what life would always be like now Red John was gone from their lives – he wondered if this was what every day life would bring now that he could move on from his wife and daughter's death.
Had he been able to see the future, as opposed to reading minds, he would know that this was what it would bring. He would know that a year from now, on the anniversary of Red John's cremation (requested by his parents), he would propose to Teresa Lisbon, and she would say yes. He would know that there would be twin red-headed Rigsby girls running around within three years, and he would know that the team members would be godparents to Wayne and Grace's little children. He would know that Cho and his girlfriend would get married, and that they would adopt a little boy together. He would know that fifteen years from now they would all be gathered as a team in Minelli's garden, paying their respects in the aftermath of their retired boss's death. He would know that as Teresa stood mourning the loss of another mentor, that she would be comforted by the twelve-year-old daughter, a spitting image of herself, that clung to her side, crying for the man who had been the closest thing to a grandparent she would ever have. He would know that the best thing he could do to make this easier for all of them was to allow their daughter, and their nine-year old son, and their three-year-old daughter to sleep in the bed with them that night, so that they could cry and share memories together. He would know that despite their future losses, that they would be okay.
But he didn't know this yet, he wouldn't know until it happened.
So for now, he was happy to wonder.
Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed this story. It started out a brief one shot with Sarah explaining her interpretation of the William Blake poem, and then a whole case evolved around it. Thank you for all your lovely comments, they've been excellent to read, and I hope you've enjoyed this story :) If anyone wants updates on any new stories I post up, feel free to add me as a friend on livejournal, my username is sammysfreehugs