Alright, here we go. The last of my Summer Secret Santa gifts for Nellie, and I'm finally getting around to posting it now that the multiparter is finally up. This one is, I admit, my favourite. And I hope you guys like it too.
Disclaimer: I as always, don't own anything.
Prompt: Apocalypse. Definition: 1) Another name for the book of Revelation, 2) Any universal or widespread destruction or disaster; doom, 3) Any revelation or prophecy.
With a note on a door his entire life ended.
Everything else just fell away. Nothing mattered, not the money, not the fame, not the even the gratifying (albeit somewhat reprehensible) feeling of superiority over the gullible. His family was dead. Murdered. Because he, Patrick Jane, could never resist the rush of a well-played mind game.
And so, in an instant, and because of his own arrogance, he lost everything that really mattered.
His life was really and truly done. Oh he's technically still breathing, still walking around, his blood still circulates. But when it comes right down to it, anything post-Red John is really just a sort of fugue state.
If he was religious he'd call it purgatory. Except the thing he plans on doing so he can move on isn't something that'll get him into heaven.
He needs to catch and kill a murdering psychopath. That's it. And when Patrick Jane does finally get his hands on Red John he has no plans to be merciful. He'll be cruel and gruesome. The mental image of one day slicing Red John to death with his own knife is the only reason Jane still bothers to breathe.
He had been weak, and arrogant. He recognizes that. Now he is being punished for it.
The old world of petty superiority and easy cons has ended.
It's like Red John was his own personal apocalypse.
Even though his first goal is to distance himself from much of his old life, Jane's certainly not above using the connections he gained from it. And one of the benefits to pretending to be a psychic is that he knows people in law enforcement. The law enforcement professionals don't seem to care that the psychic part was a lie. For the most part they're practical. All they care about is that his methods (whatever he chooses to attribute them to) catch criminals. And one way or another, Jane does help catch criminals.
Plus a job at the CBI comes with access to the Red John file, which is really what he wants anyway. All in all, the consulting job at the California Bureau of Investigation is win-win for everyone.
He admits that in the beginning it didn't work out quite as well as he'd hoped, not until he met the team. Her team.
When Jane first arrived at the CBI, for the first year or so he was shunted from supervisor to supervisor, team to team, never sticking with one for longer than a few months. Apparently most people found his attitude counter-productive and unprofessional.
But even his harshest critics couldn't deny the results he got. So while no one really wanted to keep him around, no one really wanted to cut him loose completely either.
That's when he became her problem.
When he first met her he thought she was going to be like all the other temporary supervisors who'd come before her. She radiated consummate professionalism. It was obvious that this job was her life. Dedicated, brisk, honest, no nonsense. Jane mentally sighed. He'd give this one two weeks, tops.
Which was a shame really, because rumour had it that she was on the short list to take over the Red John case. And if it was her case Jane would have preferred to be on good terms. He wasn't above stealing the information of course, but it would be so much easier if she'd just share it willingly.
That first case it became clear very quickly why Agent Teresa Lisbon was rapidly moving up in the ranks. The woman was frighteningly competent at times, and she was in charge. The fact that her junior agent was at least a foot taller than her didn't make the man any less intimidated; she didn't suffer fools lightly (though Jane suspected her bark was worse than her bite). When Jane sent her his most charming grin, she scowled. And when she found out that he'd hypnotized a witness into giving them information she was furious. Jane was actually impressed that she'd noticed the hypnosis. When he saw the look her face he decided it'd be easier in the long run to just let her yell at him.
And she did yell at him. He sighed mentally. CBI agents were all such cops. All hung up on each and every rule and regulation. He watched impassively as Agent Teresa Lisbon's tirade wound down. He really had wanted this one to work. But she was too much like the others.
Then she surprised him.
"So what did she say?" Lisbon asked calmly, tirade apparently over for the moment.
"What?" Jane asked.
"The witness you hypnotized Jane," Lisbon clarified slowly as if speaking to an idiot. "What did she say? I assume she told you something useful, and since we can't use her statement in court because you unhelpfully obtained it illegally we need to figure out another way to get the information."
Jane found himself feeling almost confused, "She said our suspect used to like to meet his friends at a place by the river," he replied quickly. "And whenever he came back he had a suspicious amount of money in his pockets. Our witness was very specific. Hypnosis will do that you know Lisbon, really focuses the mind."
"Names?" she asked, "Address?"
"Oh," he said waving his hand. "Nothing that specific, just a few first names, maybe a nickname or two, along with the general area where the building's located."
"Write a list," she told him. "Cho! Rigsby!" she barked. "Cross reference the names on the list Jane's giving you with property owners near the river and known associates of our suspect. If you find something head over and check it out."
The two agents nodded and got to work. Jane stole a glance at the woman next to him. She certainly had the whole "commanding" thing down.
"Actually Boss, I think I've got something," Rigsby said after a minute or so. "Empty warehouse down by the river, owned by one Bill Cross, old high school buddy of our guy and the name's on the list."
"Good work. You guys head over there. In the meantime, Jane and I will have another chat with our witness," Lisbon told them.
"So I was helpful after all?" Jane asked.
Lisbon rolled her eyes. "Yes, you were helpful."
He grinned, "And you thought I'd be the end of your career when you met me. I recognized the look on your face so don't even try and deny it Lisbon."
"Wasn't going to," she told him with a shrug. "But Jane?"
He was amused when she did a double take at the sound of her first name. "First of all, it's Lisbon," she corrected. "Second of all, if you ever hypnotize one of my witnesses again I'll string you up the CBI flagpole by your shoelaces. Are we clear?"
He watched her walk away in appreciation. She was surprising. And not many people surprised him anymore. He kind of liked it. Maybe she'd last longer than two weeks after all.
He saw her get to the other end of the hall before she turned abruptly. "You gonna just stand there or are you gonna come talk to the witness?" she asked in irritation.
"Coming Lisbon," he called as he jogged over to her with a grin. She really was intriguing. It was refreshing.
Jane was pleased when his sojourn on Lisbon's team proved to be more permanent than he'd originally predicted. Sure she still yelled at him on a fairly regular basis whenever he broke a pesky little law or angered a powerful politician or some such, but the difference was that whenever she was finished yelling she actually listened to him. She didn't always agree, but she didn't just disregard his opinions out of spite. Well, most of the time at least. Admittedly sometimes, usually when he'd pushed her too far, she shut him down because she could. But it wasn't often. She was remarkably free of ego.
And she was unbelievably sympathetic. Jane had noticed that early on. It was all about the victims with Agent Lisbon. This job was a cause for her and woe to those who stood in her way. She was catching bad guys to give victims closure and to prevent the scumbags from hurting anyone else. A bit of a knight protector was the lovely Teresa. Very genuine, very competent, and loyal to a fault, even to the undeserving such as himself. Eventually Jane started relying on her to pull him out of the messes he got himself in. He just stopped worrying about potential danger, assuming that she'd be there if and when it came.
Plus, with her extraordinary capacity to empathize with anyone who'd been hurt, she was also more understanding than her predecessors when it came to his obsession with Red John. Oh, she didn't like it. But she understood.
Yes, he found himself respecting her. And he may have almost liked her. In spite of himself.
And he quite liked her team too. They were useful.
Rigsby, Cho and then later Van Pelt. All good people. Rigsby was an excellent bodyguard, someone to call on when things went bad. Plus he was gullible and eager to please and thus easily talked into (or blackmailed into) a scheme. Agent Cho only cared about closing cases, so once Jane proved his methods were effective the consultant realized he didn't have to talk Cho into anything on the grey side of the law; he just had to ask. And Van Pelt was a whiz on the computer, very good at tracking down electronic leads. Plus, the young agent was always entertaining to talk to. So oddly sincere, yet at the same time oddly judgemental. It was diverting.
As he built a rapport his with his colleagues Jane found himself relaxing into his new position. Maybe even appreciating the team for more than their possible contributions to his quest for revenge. Jane decided he even liked the regularity of seeing the same faces, of lying on his couch and letting them go about their days around him. It soothed him. Made the world seem a little more colourful, a little less grey, maybe even provided a bit of temporary relief from the all-consuming need to catch and kill a murderer.
He was actually enjoying himself.
It was almost like being a part of something. Since breaking away from his father he'd always worked alone. He liked the change. He had a team now. Well, Lisbon did at least, and she considered him an offshoot, so he supposed that was close enough.
After all, Lisbon certainly treated him as hers. He was her consultant. On her team. And he found he liked that part the most. He liked the idea that someone cared enough to protect him, to try and take care of him. Even if he took advantage at least half of the time, something he unexpectedly started to feel almost guilty about sometimes. The dark-haired woman with overly expressive eyes was a mass of contradictions. So closed off most of the time, and then suddenly everything she was thinking could be read at a glance. So resistant to anything that smacked of frivolity, but whenever he managed to make her forget about that for a little while and actually got her to play, her eyes practically sparkled with fun.
And it didn't seem to matter what he did, how far he pushed. She stuck by him. Defended him. Made sure that cases his antics may have destroyed remained intact. He came to expect that of her too, that she would somehow just fix it.
He found himself fascinated by his prickly boss. He found himself drawn to her; he respected her. And deserved or not, he liked that she cared. Sometimes, in his weaker moments he let himself enjoy the tenuous link she provided to the rest of the human race.
Which wasn't problematic, until Jane realized that the link went both ways. Without realizing it he'd started to care about her right back.
When she had a gun pointed at her, when she was under suspicion for murder, when her mentor died, when the new boss held the axe just above her head, when she seemed to be fraying at the edges, he worried. He found himself hovering in her general proximity, trying to be in her company more often, trying to make her smile, really just trying to make her life easier. He wanted to be the one there for her for a change. So he started waiting quietly in the background on the off chance that she broke and needed someone to pick up the pieces, just like she'd always done for him.
But even as he tried to get closer, he also started to pull away. She'd become important. But at the same time she couldn't be important. He's the chosen nemesis of a serial killer. He's not the sort of person it's safe to be friends with. The fate of the first woman he'd befriended since his wife's death proved that. He couldn't bear it if he made his Lisbon a target.
So he lies to her, for several reasons. The first is the most straightforward. If he knows more than she does about Red John, he'll be able to find (and kill) the killer before she can stop him. And she will try and stop him. The second reason for the lies is more subtle. He lies to her because he knows it really bothers her. And if he lies seriously enough it doesn't just bother her, it makes her angry. But for some reason never angry enough. Never enough to truly cast him out of her good graces. Their relationship gets tense for a while more than once, whenever she realizes the extent to which he's been untrue. But in the end it never seems to matter. He can't seem to push her away. She's always so irritatingly (and blessedly) understanding. So willing to help, to protect, to support. For the life of him he can't figure out why. He doesn't deserve it. But no matter what he does, she just won't go away.
Eventually (selfishly) it reaches the point where he isn't sure he wants her to leave. (Though every so often he still tries to make her.)
Her team doesn't understand.
Jane remembers trying to explain it once to Van Pelt. The rookie'd been caught in the crossfire one day while he and Lisbon were arguing. Grace'd tried to disappear into the walls while Lisbon yelled at him for yet again misleading her about Red John (and in so doing putting his life in danger).
The argument touched on all their usual points of disagreement. He'd insisted that he had to kill Red John, that Red John needed to die slowly, because the serial killer had destroyed his life and so didn't deserve to live, that revenge was all he was living for and she knew it. Lisbon, as always, came back with arguments about justice, about the law, about how Jane was destroying his own life and then some. No matter where she started, she always came back to trust and the lack of it between the two of them. Jane for his part never understood why the infinitely frustrating woman couldn't see that he was protecting her. That he needed to keep her out of it as much as possible for her own safety. His life might be over, but hers didn't need to be.
"Red John took my life Lisbon when he took my family," Jane argued desperately. "He changed everything. I don't care about anything but killing him. You know that, you've always known that. I'm sorry if you don't like it, but I can't change it."
"No," she told him quietly. "You won't change it. There's a difference Jane."
Her shoulders slumped in resignation, Lisbon walked slowly back to her office, apparently deciding to give up, at least for the time being. Or maybe she just needed space to stop herself from killing him, Jane couldn't be sure. Van Pelt glanced his way. Jane tried to dissuade the redhead from talking to him by pretending to go to sleep on his couch. But Van Pelt knew him too well now to be fooled by that trick.
The team's youngest agent walked over to him and took a seat nearby.
"You know Jane," Van Pelt said, her tone soft. "Red John didn't change you." When he glanced over in mild accusation she continued. "He didn't," the younger woman insisted. "He's a murderous psychopath and what he did to you no one should have to go through, but he didn't change you. Yes, he destroyed your world. And yes, when you decided to get your revenge for what he did you destroyed parts of yourself for him. After all, there's no room in your world now for anything that isn't focused on your goal."
"You don't think that's a change?" Jane asked her. "I don't seem to recall having an overwhelming urge to kill someone before my family was murdered."
"Never?" Van Pelt asked. "Not even briefly? When someone hurt you, or abandoned you, or they hurt someone you cared about?" When Jane paused she continued. "I think you already had the capacity for plotting vicious revenge before Red John came into your life Jane. He just caused you to ignore the other parts of yourself. That's not growth, and that's not a new calling. That's just plain old destruction. Exactly what Red John always wanted, wouldn't you agree?"
With that Grace put a hand on his shoulder briefly, "I just hate to see a criminal succeed is all," she told him with a shrug. Then giving him one more pat on the shoulder she turned to leave him alone.
Jane frowned to himself. He should have known the younger woman would be on Lisbon's side.
But no. That was unfair to Grace. Optimistic, idealistic Grace. She tried to be on everyone's side, when she could. Do unto others and all that.
Sure, the younger woman idolized her boss, but not so much that she'd ignore other people's pain. Jane knew though that when it came right down to it Van Pelt would side with Lisbon each and every time. Which was how it should be. A woman as loyal as Lisbon was…
As loyal as Lisbon…
Loyal Lisbon, she's been beside him every step of the way in his quest to catch Red John. Sometimes helping, sometimes hindering, but always there. And even though he finds her insistence on some form of legal justice a problem, and he's worried about the potential fallout for her, he's grateful for her presence. She's been his one constant through it all. He's gotten so he likes her company, though sometimes it feels like they argue more than they get along.
That's probably mostly his fault, but who can blame him? Her temper's a thing of beauty sometimes; provoking her is more interesting than exchanging pleasantries with most people. And at least he always feels he can talk to her, though he knows she doesn't feel quite the same way (and if he's being honest sometimes that stings).
But he trusts her implicitly. And he talks to her about things he shouldn't, not when he knows how she feels about his crusade. He does it anyway though. He can't help himself.
He remembers once they were driving back from a case, just the two of them. She'd insisted on driving. Too many things had been beyond her power to fix over the last few days and she was trying to take back some control. They hadn't been able to save a kidnapped woman, arriving at the perpetrator's house almost twelve hours too late. All that'd been left was a body abandoned in the basement. Sure, Lisbon had gotten the satisfaction of leading the bad guy away in handcuffs, but she'd also had to inform the victim's fiancé that the woman he loved wasn't coming home.
Jane watched her out of the corner of his eye. She looked calm, but her knuckles were white as they gripped the steering wheel. "You okay?" he asked quietly.
"I'm fine," Lisbon insisted.
"Don't look fine," he remarked easily.
"Jane, I'm really not in the mood," she told him.
"You can't save them all Lisbon," Jane told her softly.
"I know that!" she snapped. "I just wish I could get the fiancé's face out of my head when he realized the love of his life was gone."
"He might move on eventually," Jane said quietly, recognizing the hypocrisy of that statement.
"He might," she agreed with a sigh.
"But you're right. Watching someone go through that is unpleasant," Jane agreed. The world as he knows it is over."
Lisbon glanced over, "Well, that's not quite true," she said slowly. "He still has his family, and his friends. He's not completely alone."
"Maybe not, but right now he's in the middle of his own personal apocalypse," Jane said confidently.
"His own personal apocalypse?" Lisbon repeated, her tone skeptical.
"Yes. You know, an end of days scenario, all that jazz?" Jane explained breezily. "Really Lisbon, good Catholic girl like yourself, I'd have thought you'd be familiar with all this."
Lisbon fingered the cross around her neck absently, "I know what an apocalypse is Jane. I'm not an idiot. And you don't need to be religious to know what the word means. The four horseman of the apocalypse, death, destruction, et cetera, et cetera. Tragic though it is, I hardly think a single woman's death is comparable to that."
"Not to the apocalypse Lisbon," Jane corrected indulgently. "An apocalypse. A little one, just for him. You know what I mean."
"Hardly ever," Lisbon said quickly, though she did know. She just didn't want to talk about it.
"I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hell was following close behind him," Jane said softly.
Lisbon glanced over, "You're not honestly quoting the Bible to me are you?" she asked shocked. "You? Who sometimes I think couldn't have more contempt for religion if you tried?"
"While you're a devout believer?" he asked. "I know you wear the cross, but come on Lisbon, how much do you really believe?"
"I know better than to discuss my personal beliefs with you," Lisbon shot back quickly. "You view religion as just another type of charlatanism, a crutch for the mentally inferior. Ironic given your previous profession. What I believe is my business. If you want to insult someone for their beliefs go and find Van Pelt. She always rises to the bait. I know better."
"You're not Van Pelt," Jane said, confused and irritated that she apparently thought there was no difference between her and her subordinate in his eyes.
"I'm glad you noticed," she told him dryly.
"Lisbon, I don't mean to…" he sighed. "Sometimes Van Pelt is just too much fun to provoke. But I would never belittle your…" To Lisbon's shock Jane sighed again as he searched for the right words. "I wasn't trying to make you feel bad."
"Weren't you?" she asked.
"No. That's not always my goal you know," he told her with half a smile, glad that the situation was on its way to being diffused. He really hadn't meant to make her feel worse.
"I guess I know that," Lisbon admitted grudgingly. "Half the time you're trying to pacify me after you irritate the hell out of me."
"All relationships are about balance," Jane told her with a grin. He waited until she returned it before continuing more seriously, "I may not always agree with you Lisbon, but I respect your beliefs, how you feel, whether you believe or not. I guess I'm just surprised that after all you've been through…"
"Not everyone responds to personal tragedy by renouncing everything they knew before Jane," she interrupted quickly.
"No, I know that," he acknowledged. "Some people cling to religion even more dearly in times of trial, as a sort of talisman. But you don't do that either. At least, I don't think you do. I'm sure I'd have picked up on some sign of excessive piety before now if you did."
"Jane…" she started, and he heard the warning in her tone.
"Alright Lisbon, relax. I promise not to pry," Jane told her easily. "My point was more about the idea of a life-changing event altering someone irrevocably."
"A personal apocalypse as you called it," she confirmed.
"Exactly," he replied with a nod. "An apocalypse. Named for Calypso the nymph who detained Odysseus. From the Greek, to uncover."
"Well yes," she agreed. "But if you know that then you should also know that the original meaning was more about revelation than doom. I suspect the modern interpretation came later."
Jane glanced over, his eyes admiring. "Lisbon I'm impressed!"
"What you think you're the only person who knows things?" she asked self-consciously.
"Of course not, but I never took you for a lover of language," he told her.
"You don't know me as well as you think Patrick Jane," she told him playfully.
He grinned, "But I know you better than you give me credit for Teresa Lisbon."
He watched in amusement as she became flustered, a faint blush visible on her cheeks. "Anyway," she said with a cough. "If his fiancé's death is an apocalypse for poor Mr. Moore, maybe it'll be one in the sense that he'll realize something else is worth living for, a revelation not a total catastrophe."
"That's almost ridiculously optimistic Lisbon," Jane told her gently.
"It's better than the alternative," she shot back.
Jane paused, considering. "Yes, I suppose it is," he agreed quietly, sending her a soft smile.
She returned it, clearly pleased.
Jane could only hope she was right. He wouldn't wish a personal doomsday on anyone.
He knew what that scenario felt like, one of those total paradigm shifts. She knew it too, though he wasn't sure which parent's death had been the precipitating event for her, maybe it was both. Either way, you could tell from Teresa Lisbon's eyes that she'd experienced an end of days of her own.
The two of them had that in common.
The only difference was she'd reacted by trying to save others from their potential doomsdays while he simply planned to avenge the cause of his.
And he knew the day he'd been waiting for would finally come. Eventually. Their opposing goals would clash, and their relationship would disintegrate. It was inevitable.
But despite their different worldviews, he always finds himself swinging back to her. And sometimes they work so well together it scares him. He tells himself the only reason he can't cut ties is that she helps him with Red John, but even he doesn't believe that anymore. He likes seeing her happy (and tries to make her so) too much for that to be true.
So they continue on. They've both lost people thanks to the serial killer. They both need to catch the man, albeit perhaps for slightly different reasons. He still doesn't quite understand her position, though he thinks she might understand his. Of course she still doesn't agree. And while he certainly doesn't agree with hers either, he can't help respecting her for the tenacity with which she sticks to it.
Following Red John leads in secret and lying to her (which he still does, even though he's no longer sure she believes him when he does it, but it's become a habit) feels strange to him now. It's still for her own good obviously, but it just feels wrong. Like she should be there with him.
But that's not what's best for her. He won't force her to witness a murder. She deserves that at least.
So even though the lying is starting to feel more wrong than right, when he gets an honest to god confirmation of where Red John will be that evening, and that he'll be alone, Jane doesn't hesitate before driving off without telling her. His Lisbon will not be compromised. Not on his behalf. He won't allow it.
Jane stood in the middle of the room, knife in hand while his long-time nemesis stood against the wall, trapped in a corner across from him, unarmed.
"Well," Red John asked him with a sneer. "Isn't this what you've been waiting for all these years?"
Jane gripped the knife tighter.
"Come on then Patrick, it's your move," the madman taunted. "Come and get me. This is it. You've won. Now let's see if you can finish it."
Jane took a single step towards him.
"This is what you wanted correct?" Red John asked. "Me, vulnerable, at your mercy, so you could cut me up into little pieces, just like I did to your wife and that beautiful daughter of yours. They were lovely Patrick."
Jane felt the rage boiling up in him. He should kill the animal. He'd be doing the world a favour. The man was a violent serial killer. He deserved to die. And painfully. The plan had always been to start slicing the extremities, a finger here, a toe there. Avoid the major arteries as much as possible to prolong death.
"What's stopping you?" the killer practically snarled. "Don't have the guts to do it when it comes right down to it?"
Jane paused in his very detailed mental plans to cut up the man standing opposite him. What was stopping him? Why hadn't he just stabbed his enemy already? He had nothing to live for, no one in his life, other than his team of course. They'd no doubt be upset. Sweet, innocent Grace, even more innocent Rigsby, and of course Cho. Though he figured the team's stoic second in command would barely blink at the news, inside Jane was sure Cho'd be quite upset. Yes, his team would miss him.
Or rather, her team. They'd always be hers.
Jane gripped his knife even tighter, never once taking his eyes off the other man in the room. Lisbon. The one person he'd been deliberately not thinking about. Her face appeared in his mind. No doubt she'd be upset. She'd been with him at almost every step, and they were friends. Friends was an understatement actually. She was easily the best friend he had. He cared about her, and she him. Oh, he'd known this day would come eventually of course, but he didn't want to see her face to when she realized someone else would be leaving her. That he was just another person she couldn't depend on.
And he would be leaving her. He hadn't taken any forensic counter measures. Even if he wasn't caught literally red-handed, his DNA and his fingerprints would be all over the murder scene. If he went forward with this then with the evidence against him he'd almost certainly be convicted. He'd end up in prison.
His grip on the knife slackened almost imperceptibly. Hmm.
Then it tightened again, his mouth a grim line. But this was the man who'd taken his family. Who'd destroyed his life. What he was currently experiencing was just a shadow.
He knew that. He told himself that every night. This was his goal, this was what he needed to do. The last few years he'd just been marking time. His days with her he'd just been …
He remembered her face when he'd bought her the damn pony, dancing with her at a high school reunion, "reading her mind," that day in the overheated storage container, the special birthday presents she slipped him that no one else even thought to give but she never forgot, the day they'd spent unexpectedly at an amusement park, helping her when a pipe burst in her apartment unexpectedly at two in the morning, her near constant physical abuse via pencil, stapler, her affectionate kicks, and her not so affectionate fists.
He felt almost physically ill. His days with her hadn't just been marking time.
Red John's smile was triumphant. "I knew it," he whispered. "I knew you wouldn't be able to do it. Wouldn't have the guts. Not when it counted. You're a coward Patrick. But don't feel bad, not all of us are cut out to be killers. Your talents lie in petty deception and lies. Look at you, you're frozen in indecision. Killing deliberately in cold blood without provocation requires a certain clarity of focus, a certain kind of mind. I would know. It's not your fault you can't finish the job so to speak."
"He may not be able to but I can," Lisbon said walking briskly into the room and judging by her footsteps she was flanked by at least two people (Jane didn't turn to look, but he was guessing Rigsby and Van Pelt; Cho was probably covering the exit). "CBI!" she ordered in the tone Jane had heard over and over again in the past few years. "Put your hands on your head and don't move."
The killer obligingly held up his hands along the wall as Lisbon instructed, but he didn't look at her. In fact, he didn't once take his eyes from Jane's. "It's even harder now there are witnesses Patrick. What's it going to be?" Red John taunted. "The lovely Agent Lisbon probably wouldn't shoot you in time if you lunged quickly enough. There'll be a natural hesitation of course, because of your working relationship. And you've worked so well together all these years. Very equal partnership too. She uses you for your freakish gifts; you take advantage of her brokenness to elicit sympathy. You know she doesn't trust you. Why should she? You've been lying to her since the day you met her. None of it actually means anything."
"Shut up," Jane growled, speaking for the first time.
"Jane," Lisbon called to him firmly, the barest hint of fear in her voice, "I need you to put the knife down. Just quietly and calmly put it down."
"And she's been lying to you too," Red John continued. "How would she know exactly where you were otherwise?"
"Jane…" Lisbon called again, her voice almost pleading.
"You've got him?" Jane asked.
"I've got him," she assured him.
"I mean it Lisbon, if he so much as moves a muscle you'll shoot him?" Jane double checked.
"Three shots right in the chest if he so much as flinches," she promised. "Just put the knife down."
"Agent Lisbon, we finally meet," Red John spoke to her. "So much more attractive in person than on a grainy video feed. I must say I'm feeling vaguely threatened. As you can see, this man is holding a knife on me."
"Shut up," she said.
"Oh come on," Jane said at the same time, oddly calm now that Lisbon's presence had effectively taken the decision out of his hands. "You're a mass murderer you lunatic! The knife is clearly necessary for my own protection."
"Which now that we have three guns trained on him you no longer need," Lisbon added. "Jane, I want you to…"
Jane lowered his hand and took a step backwards. Then another. "I'll give you the knife when he's in custody Lisbon, in restraints, in the back of one of those big armoured vans."
"Okay," she agreed readily. Jane could hear the threat of relief in her voice. "I'm coming up beside you," she warned him. "Cho?"
"I got you covered boss," the other man said.
Huh, Jane thought. Apparently he'd been wrong; Rigsby must be covering the door.
Jane heard her walk up beside him. As soon as her gun appeared in his peripheral vision he felt himself relax ever so slightly. He should have known Lisbon would fix everything. It was her way. "Put your hands on your head," she ordered, before taking another step towards the serial killer. Jane almost smiled.
But apparently that was the last straw for Red John, who'd finally seemed to realize that Jane wouldn't be leaping murderously at him any time soon. Letting out a frustrated yell the serial killer lunged at the female agent, the glint of a previously concealed knife in his right hand.
Jane felt an instant panic rise in his throat. But before he even had a chance to cry out he heard three gunshots go off in rapid succession. Then Jane could only watch in shock as the body of the man formerly known as Red John fell to the floor.
Jane stood completely frozen as Cho ran forward to check the body, confirming what they all already knew. "He's dead boss," Cho told them all, his voice as emotionless as always.
"Good," Lisbon replied tersely.
At the sound of her voice Jane turned to her in shock.
"What?" she asked him as she holstered her gun. "I told you, if he moved a muscle he was getting three bullets in the chest."
Jane watched from outside the building as Red John's body was loaded into the back of a van. He held the knife handle out to his right and felt her take it.
"Thanks," she told him softly.
"You okay?" she asked quietly.
Jane shrugged, "I don't know."
"I couldn't let you do it in cold blood," she said.
"I know," he replied.
"For what it's worth I wanted him dead probably almost as much as you did," she told him. He looked at her then, searching her eyes. But she was telling the truth.
"But I'm still glad you didn't do it," she added.
"I didn't want you to have to do it either," Jane replied, running a hand through his hair in frustration. "That's not what I wanted. You shouldn't…"
But she interrupted him before he could continue. "Hey!" she said. "I'm the cop. You're just the consultant, remember? If anyone needs shooting I'm going to be the one who does it, are we clear? I shoot people and you're the one in charge of being a pain in the ass."
"Still, for what it's worth, I'm sorry you had to," Jane told her. "It can't be easy taking another person's life. At least that's what I assume. I wouldn't actually know. And I'm sorry that in this case you do."
Lisbon just shrugged. "I'm not." When he glanced at her she sighed. "Jane the man was a serial killer obsessed with control. He wasn't going to let himself be taken. He wasn't going to let you kill him. At best you'd have ended up dead as well. I mean, let's face it, the man does have more practice with a knife than you do."
"I didn't know he still had one," Jane admitted softly.
"None of us did," she pointed out.
"You suspected," he replied, watching her out of the corner of his eye for confirmation.
"Yeah," Lisbon said nodding, "but don't beat yourself up about it. We both know when it comes to Red John you lose focus."
Jane let the edges of his mouth turn up in a smile. It felt strange under the circumstances.
Lisbon continued, "Even apart from saving your life… Jane, I've killed a few people over the years. Some I wish I didn't have to, and yeah, sometimes those ones haunt me. But if you think that I'm ever going to be even a little upset over killing that psycho then you're sadly mistaken. Hell, I almost feel like throwing a party. He's taken enough from both of us wouldn't you say?"
Jane met her eyes briefly then, and he saw certainty. He looked away. In his self-absorption he'd forgotten he wasn't the only one who'd lost people to one of California's most famous killers.
And now, because of this woman, the man he'd been hunting for years was dead. His family was avenged. Not by him, but by his partner.
"I need to go for a walk," he said quickly.
He heard her sudden intake of breath. "Of course. If you need anything just…"
He interrupted her. "Will you wait?" he asked his voice desperate.
"What?" she asked surprised.
He ran a hand through his hair. "Please wait," he whispered. Then more loudly he tried to explain, "I need… I need a little while alone and I need to… to not be here right now. But I won't be more than an hour, but if you could…" he met her eyes then, his own wide and vulnerable.
"I can wait," she promised, her own eyes vulnerable now as well, but he was too distracted to read them. "I've got stuff to keep me busy for a while here. Serial killer or no, I did just shoot someone."
"Thank you," he said softly, his eyes not leaving hers.
She nodded and turned back towards the van.
Jane spoke before she could step away, "Lisbon, I mean it…"
"Hey, I'm just glad it's not you we're loading in there," she interrupted, gesturing towards the body and trying to find a smile for him.
He shook his head slowly, he didn't think she understood. "Truly Teresa, I…"
Her eyes widened and she squeezed his hand briefly. "Go on your walk. We'll talk about it afterwards. When your head's on straight. Well, straighter, at least," she promised with another attempt at a smile.
He nodded once before turning and walking in the opposite direction, oddly comforted by the knowledge that she was watching him go.
She was always watching.
She was Lisbon.
He walked without paying too much attention to where he was going. What had happened was finally starting to sink in, and he'd needed time alone to sort through all the things rushing through his brain.
He hadn't killed Red John. Hadn't been able to. She'd stopped him, stopped him before she'd even arrived. He was feeling relatively calm about the whole thing now, but part of that was probably shock. Come tomorrow would he be able to live with his decision? He couldn't take this one back. He wouldn't have been able to live with this outcome a few years ago, but what about now? Would he hate himself in the morning? Feel like he'd failed? Feel like he'd let his family down?
Would his beautiful wife and innocent daughter have wanted him to avenge them? Would knowing their murderer was dead be enough? Would they care either way? Or had the vengeance been for himself all this time and not his family?
When had he changed his mind about what he was going to do? And why?
Or was all that mattered that Red John was finally dead. Jane had to sit down when that realization finally sunk in. The serial killer was gone. He couldn't hurt anyone any more.
Not even her.
Red John would never be able to hurt her now. She was still alive.
And he was too.
Jane turned the corner back onto the crime scene just over forty-five minutes later. He hadn't figured it all out yet, but he knew enough. At least his head had stopped spinning.
He lurked near the building, trying to catch a glimpse of his boss. For some reason he wanted to find her before she noticed him.
It was Cho who found him first.
"Hey. You're back," the agent said.
"Yeah," Jane agreed. "Needed a walk."
Cho nodded. "Understandable."
The two men stood in silence for a moment. "You okay?" Cho asked.
"I… I don't know," Jane admitted.
"Makes sense," Cho replied.
"I mean, it's over," Jane said slowly. "I… we got him. Red John's dead. Lisbon shot him."
"Yes she did," Cho agreed readily. "Three times."
Jane nodded once. "I just… I mean, I've spent so many years chasing him I don't…"
"You don't quite know what to do with yourself," Cho finished for him. "I get it. You devoted your life to catching a serial killer and now that you have you need to figure out your life. No one expects you to figure it out overnight. And Hightower loves you so I don't think you have to worry about losing your job even if you need to take some time. If you still want your job of course."
"I could buy a house," Jane told the other man, still somewhat dazed.
"What?" Cho asked in confusion. He hadn't expected the consultant to be acting completely normally, but even for Jane this conversation was strange.
"Well, I never really saw the point of buying a house in Sacramento," Jane explained quietly. "Wasn't a good reason to spend the money. All I was living for was to kill Red John at which point…"
"You'd either be dead or tried for murder before spending the rest of your life in jail, in which case a house would just be a nuisance. I understand," Cho said, filling in the details for himself.
Jane continued on almost as if the other man hadn't spoken. It was almost a relief to talk. "I was living in a hotel at first, and then when I realized the whole thing was going to take longer than I'd originally thought I got an apartment but…"
"But if you're staying in Sacramento…" Cho filled in for him.
"I should get a house," Jane concluded.
"Well," Cho said with a shrug. "If you decide you want one, I have a buddy who's a realtor. I could give you his name; he'll help you out."
"Thanks," Jane said quietly.
The pair lapsed into silence, when Jane saw Lisbon walk out of the house talking to one of the local cops. "I've got to go," he said. "Thanks again Cho."
"No problem," the agent told him readily. Then something seemed to strike him, "Hey Jane?"
"Yeah?" the consultant asked.
"Whatever you decide to do, come and say goodbye first," Cho said.
Jane paused, blinking. Goodbye? What? Oh. Oh. "We'll be seeing each other again Cho. I'm certainly not going back to reading minds on television."
"Alright," Cho replied easily, before turning and heading back into the building.
With that Jane walked over to Lisbon, who was wrapping up her discussion with the police officer. His pace slowed as he watched her. Strong, dependable Lisbon. He'd learned a lot from her, about helping families, about genuine empathy, maybe even about justice. He still wasn't sure he always agreed. But she didn't seem to care about that so why should he? She was as stubborn as he was, maybe more so. After all, when push came to shove, Red John's fate had been her decision, her way, not his.
She'd been there with him every step of the way. Either right at his heels or right beside him, always protecting him when literally anyone else would have given up long ago. But not Teresa Lisbon. Never her. She didn't abandon people. Not even when they really deserved it, maybe especially not then. When he'd started at the CBI Jane'd devoted considerable energy to trying to insinuate himself into her life. He supposed it was a bit of a cosmic joke that she was the one who'd broken through into his world without even trying.
Now he couldn't imagine his days without her. And the thought of leaving her had his stomach at his throat.
She'd noticed him now. He saw the surprise (and relief?) wash over her face.
He walked more quickly towards her.
"Hi," he said softly, with half a smile.
"You're back," she said somewhat stupidly.
He frowned slightly at her surprise. "I told you I would be," he reminded her.
"I know, but I thought…" Lisbon trailed off, clearly unsure of what to say.
But Jane knew her fairly well now. "You thought that once it all sunk in I'd cut and run, leaving you waiting and worried, having to clean up the mess?"
She shook her head slightly, "No. Yes. I don't… I wouldn't blame you if you had Jane. I know…"
He put a finger to her lips. "I asked you to wait for me Lisbon."
"I know," she agreed softly. "I did."
Jane did smile then. "You always do. Even when I lie to you."
"You didn't lie this time," Lisbon pointed out.
"No," he agreed.
Lisbon found a part of a smile of her own to send him then, "Thank you."
"I couldn't be just another man who'd disappointed you Teresa," Jane admitted softly.
The look of pleased relief on her face turned quickly to shock, "Jane…"
"You don't deserve that," he added.
Lisbon seemed to be having trouble figuring out what to say. "I…"
"I need some time… my family…" Jane shook his head. Now he was at a loss for words. He hoped she'd understand.
She did. "Of course," Lisbon told him immediately. "Like I said, take all the time you need."
"I appreciate that," he told her, relieved.
She shrugged and tried for levity. "Hey, the CBI won't let you back in the building in any sort of official capacity for at least two weeks. Hightower's orders." Then she stuttered, "Not that you'll be… I mean, I know you were only consulting with us because of Red John and now that he's…"
Jane shook his head. "I still don't have anything else to do."
"You might want to find something though," Lisbon said softly.
That intrigued him. "Like what?" he asked. What else could he possibly be qualified to do?
"I don't know," Lisbon told him, mildly irritated, though whether at herself or him, he wasn't sure. "Maybe find a hobby? Move to another state for a change of scenery?"
"Are you trying to get rid of me Agent Lisbon?" he asked, relieved that he could still find it in himself to tease her.
"No!" she said just a little too loudly. "Of course not! I just don't want… You shouldn't limit yourself because you feel obligated or something."
"I am obligated," he told her softly.
"Jane…" she sighed.
"Are you doing anything next Friday night?" he asked suddenly.
That got her attention. "What?" she asked, clearly a bit dumfounded by the question.
"Next Friday night," Jane repeated easily. "We can go out for dinner. I've figured out some things. I can explain it all to you then if you like. Or we can just talk. You can even suggest new hobbies for me since apparently you don't like the origami."
"I do like the…" Lisbon corrected before shaking her head. "Jane, what are you talking about?"
"I want to take you out to dinner Teresa," he explained patiently. "I owe you…"
"You do not owe me for Red John!" Lisbon insisted. "We did that together."
"I know," Jane replied. "But I do owe you for the fact that I'm not being shipped off in handcuffs, or worse, in a body bag."
Her mouth dropped open slightly in surprise.
He brushed a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "You were the one who stopped me from killing him. I don't know how, but you did."
"Jane…" she whispered.
"You've always been there Lisbon," he continued. "And now I find myself not wanting to leave you either. I still need some time by myself, for my family." She nodded mutely. Of course she understood that too Jane thought affectionately. "But come to dinner on Friday," he wheedled. "We can go for Italian, and you can eat more carbs than you'd normally allow yourself because you have a secret weakness for pasta. It'll be good for both of us. We'll talk. I promise not to lie to you then either."
"Okay," Lisbon said softly, her eyes never leaving his.
He was surprised by her agreement. He'd expected to have to work more to convince her. "I'll pick you up at seven?" he checked.
"Okay," she said again, a hint of a smile around her mouth.
Jane smiled back. "Good. Now will you give me a ride back to the CBI?"
"What about your car?" she asked curiously.
He shrugged. "I'll get it tomorrow. Right now I'd rather go with you."
Lisbon's lips quirked up ever so slightly more. "Do you want me to drop you off at your place or…"
Jane shook his head. "No you need to go back to the office to fill out some of those tedious forms and then you need to go home and get your rest."
"During which time you'll be…" Lisbon wondered.
"Sleeping on your couch until you're ready to leave yourself. My place is on your way home," he reminded her.
She smiled fully then, "Just give me five minutes."
"I'll be here," he promised softly.
"I'm glad," she told him just as softly.
Lisbon turned to leave when she felt Jane tug on her hand. Before she could react he'd crushed her to his chest. Unlike the handful of times he'd hugged her previously, Lisbon felt herself reciprocating. Actually, she was clutching him just as tightly as he was clutching her, and in no hurry to let him go. "I'm glad you're here too Lisbon," he whispered hoarsely in her ear before finally letting her go.
She gave him a brief, but shaky smile before heading back towards the abandoned building to tell the locals and Cho where she they were going.
Jane watched her go, almost smiling himself. He'd thought Red John was the end of his world. That the minute his family had been murdered he'd changed. That life his life was over. But Grace was right, Red John's murders may have been catastrophic and they may have marked the end of something, but in the end the serial killer had simply destroyed, not transformed.
No, Lisbon was the one who'd changed his life with the sound of three gunshots fired in rapid succession by someone who knew what they were doing and why they were doing it.
Red John was really and truly gone. The walking dream world of the last few years could end. It was over. And almost in spite of his best efforts he was still here. Different, but still free. Patrick Jane had changed. He'd been shown another reason to keep breathing.
He was just glad he'd realized his life was about more than just murder before he'd committed one.
And it was all thanks to her.
As he stood in her doorway Friday evening in a brand new charcoal grey suit (complete with matching vest because let's face it, he hadn't changed that much), Jane realized he was either very nervous or very excited. He wasn't sure which. He did know that he was almost certainly grinning like a fool.
But Jane decided he didn't so much care about any of that when she opened his door looking beautiful in a deep blue shirt, long sparkly earrings, and an unsure expression in her eyes.
He just smiled and handed her the bouquet of blue violets he'd brought her, watching her own smile start to emerge.
When she asked self-consciously if he minded waiting while she put them in water he grinned and pulled a vase from behind his back.
All he wanted now was to spend time with her, to tell her things, to explain… to try and make her happy.
Because as it turned out, Red John wasn't his personal apocalypse.