"Lisbon!" Jane called out, but once again it was too late. In several large steps the man had gained on him, and brutally tackled him into the rocky red dirt. Jane landed hard, his jaw hitting the solid ground, sending a flame of pain through his teeth. He began to yelp and call out the rest of his coworkers' names but his only response was a deep growl from the psycho.
"I killed you once Todd and I'll do it again!" Jane felt the massive murdering man's breath against his skin, beer tinged spit coating the back of his neck.
"I'm not Todd! My name is Patrick! I promise I didn't eat any of your candy!" The man was deaf to him as he flipped Jane over and stared down at him with eyes that screamed insanity. Jane had now been traumatized for the second time in one day.
"You lying fat kid!" The man screamed as he wrapped his hands around Jane's neck and began to squeeze. There was nothing Jane could do to get the bear of a man off of him. He swatted at the bulging enraged face, feeling his life flee from his panicking body, but he could do nothing. For the second time he believed his death was near. However once again he was wrong. The squeezing around his neck loosened when a foot emerged from the shadowy air, and kicked hard at the man's face. Jane's vision was blurred as he panted for breath and began slapping his attacker's fat face. His savior kicked once again, rolling the maniac away from him. Jane scurried away, his mind and body still swaying as he glanced up to his rescuer.
The sight was all too familiar, for once again his vision was blurred and a familiar face filled his misty gaze. It was the cool woman with the yellow bug, and the red scarf and big hat, the one who had saved him earlier. She was back. Or so he thought. For as he studied her face, Jane felt the world suddenly become muffled, before everything went black. But the dark coma like sleep lasted only several minutes.
Distant voices filled his head as his vision was still black. He heard them say his name but he figured he was dreaming till they persisted, annoying him. The clearer the voices became and the more annoyed he got, he began to realize he was not dreaming. He opened his eyes to see blurred distorted faces surrounding him. The voices were still muffled as were the people till he slowly sat up and he felt a hand touch his shoulder. It was Grace's touch and soon her face and voice became lucid.
"Lisbon, he's awake!" Grace called. "Take it easy." Her soft voice comforted him, though it also confused him for the mysterious woman was nowhere in sight. Jane eased to his feet with the help up Grace, and he looked about as the fog entirely left his gaze. A few yards away Rigsby and Cho had the bear-man pinned to the ground and were struggling to handcuff him. Behind them was Lisbon who was heading in their direction.
Grace watched Jane worriedly as his eyes lazily lolled about him. "Jane, can you hear me? Are you hurt?"
"That woman…" He mumbled, his throat aching slightly as he spoke. "Did you see a woman?" He looked eagerly to her as he felt his strength returning. Grace appeared confused and dropped the matter as Lisbon reached them.
"We came over as soon as we heard you." When it was clear Grace was clueless of the woman's identity, he gave up trying to figure out the woman and slowly took in a long breath, tenderly touching his neck. It had already begun to bruise from the choking and Jane lethargically waved to Grace when she continued braced him for behind.
"I'm good." Grace slowly stepped away and Lisbon adjusted her grip on her gun.
"What the hell were you thinking?" Jane realized, to them, he had simply disappeared and got himself nearly killed by a random psychotic camper.
"Ah," he groaned and began gesticulating towards the large man. "He's the one, he killed his son," he said through slow breaths. "Say all your funny business, he admitted to the murder." Lisbon's mouth went agape before she turned to Cho who now was sitting on the man.
"You hear that, Cho?"
"yes." He grumbled, and readjusted his grip on the man. "youre under arrest for the murder of your own son."
"Todd was his name," Jane called out. Lisbon let out a long sigh and gave him a perplexed look, looking over his bruises.
"I will never understand how you know all this stuff." Jane was too exhausted to answer so he stepped back and rested against the table. "Just stay put, I'm gonna call Walker and if you keep looking like that, an ambulance too." Lisbon strayed off into the dark. "Van Pelt, you call the local cops."
"Yes boss, already on it." Grace and Lisbon's phones were the only light in the campsite that was filled with looming shadows belonging to trees who groaned as a warm wind danced by.
Jane sat still for several minutes while his breath made its way back into his tired lungs and the wind tickled pleasantly against his sweaty face. Not only now did his scratches on his hands and back burn, but his throat, arms, and lungs ached as well. Though Jane hardly noticed, for he had solved yet another crime, and gave the chubby boy his rightful justice. Each case gave him more excitement, and desire to go onto the next, knowing somewhere, sometime, he would catch his murderous man and give his family the justice they deserved.
By the time the local cops arrived, awakening the entire campground with their blaring sirens and flashing lights, Rigsby and Cho's arms could hardly hold the man down any longer. The police hurried through the site with their guns out, Lisbon pointing to where the murderer was. To the agents' relief, they took the fighting and shouting man into custody. Jane sat silent, eying the beastly man. He then watched Lisbon discuss custody of the killer with the local sheriff and the rest of the cops who lined the site with caution tape that glowed in the darkness. When Rigsby and Cho were released from the scene they joined Jane at the picnic table.
"When we first heard you, I thought you were a bear."
"That man is at least half bear, or batman or butcher. He smelled bad, really bad." Rigsby's brow rose as he looked to the large man who was being shoved into a police car.
"I'm not trying to sound like Lisbon here, but why the hell did you do that?"
"Eh, it needed to be done."
"Well yeah, but-" Rigsby was cut off by Lisbon who was heading their way with Grace. She raised her brow at him and rested her hands on her hips.
"You're lucky you're alive, Jane." She tried to smile but her confusion and frustration pushed it aside. "But what the hell is wrong with you? Taking on a killer, alone?"
"I didn't, that's where you all stepped in." Grace sighed.
"I think what we all mean to say is where glad you're alright." Jane half smiled to her, "You did a brave thing." Rigsby and Cho nodded to him. But Lisbon took a moment to look the battered man over, his torn and dirtied vest limply hugged his bruised up body, and his face was sprinkled with cuts and purpling bruises. She shook her head, appearing for the first time the entire day, genuinely concerned without anger haunting her expression.
"What I keep on wondering, is why you told me you knew he was miles away from here, when obviously you knew he wasn't. Why not just tell me the truth?"
"If I told you, there was a chance, a chance, that this was his campsite and that he would come back to it, you wouldn't have stayed." Lisbon looked sucked in her chin, looking unsure.
"What, yes I would have."
"Don't deny it. I knew he would come back, but since you wouldn't ever believe, eh I had to spin some yarn." Lisbon licked her lip.
"You never really wanted to go camping did you?"
"Well we all had fun didn't we?"
Rigsby smirked and nodded, "you are a tricky man Patrick Jane."
The five of them knew none could return to sleeping while a crime scene was going on next door and a large crowd of campers observing and chattering about it on their doorstep, so the team cleaned up their tents, and loaded them into the vans. The sky was still dark, and the sliver of a moon high as they piled into the dim lit cars. Cho was more awake then Rigsby and Grace, so he hopped into the driver's seat while in the back, the pair of them passed out. In the other van, Jane sat nearly falling asleep himself, waiting for Lisbon to return from checking up on the scene. Jane slowly let his head fall against the cold glass, and stared ahead appearing lifeless.
When Lisbon returned, opening the van's door and climbing in, Jane let out a long groan. For the little movements were exaggerated by his weak and drowsy state.
"You're a dinosaur."
"That's why I get for saving your life?"
"I've saved your butt hundreds of times and you just keep on trying to kill me." His voice was muffled and almost not understandable. Lisbon looked to him, forgiving him when she saw that for once in his life; Jane appeared to be falling asleep, but it took several near deaths experiences to do it. She debated whether or not to keep him awake on purpose, but in the end let him sleep, putting an end to their battle for now as the two vans slowly pulled away from the campground that had brought them so many surprises.
Both vans were silent as they drove, the night giving them a sense of peace as they cruised down the sparsely populated freeways. In Cho's van, Rigsby's face was leaning on Grace's shoulder, drooling, but luckily she was unaware. Even Jane managed to sleep the majority of the way, and a very deep sleep it was, for images of the mysterious woman's face populated his dreams.
As Agent Cho drove, the road ahead of him was nearly empty. The summer moonlight bouncing off the hood of the van, and the constant hum of the vehicle calmed him as the memories of the day drifted in and out from his mind. At the images of the way the day began, Rigsby making them late in the morning, then dancing like a fool when they got to the lake, the wild boat ride, and the way the case was solved, he began to smile, and through that smile, he said in his monotone way, "that was weird. i liked it."
Author's Note: Since this is the final chapter of this adventure, I would love to hear what you thought of it for I am considering writing another. Please do share what you liked and thank you very much for reading and reviewing! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much I as did writing it.