1. ONE FOR THE TEAM
She was being unreasonable. He didn't understand why every little thing sent her off the deep end. Yes, the scheme had been risky. Yes, if she hadn't walked in and stopped him just in time he and Van Pelt would have been in serious danger. But really, that wasn't his fault. If Lisbon had let him come with her, he would have been there when she discovered the suspect was a murderous psycho who had escaped from a mental hospital in another state.
Exasperated with his inability to grasp the weight of the situation as well as to allow her to complete a sentence, Lisbon suddenly reached out and put her hand over his mouth just to make him shut up. Surprised by such an unexpected and un-Lisbonish action, Jane immediately did just that.
"Look, you're lucky I showed up when I did and stopped you. You both could've been killed. This whole thing was a mess, and for once it's not a foregone conclusion that I'm the one that has to take the fall. Now somebody's getting suspended, and it's not going to be me. That leaves you or Van Pelt, and she's too new, too young, and has too much potential to get a blot like this on her record. So you're going to take one for the team—for your team. I'm reporting to Hightower and recommending you be placed on one-week suspension."
The contact startled him. It would have been intimate except that she was standing a full arm's length away from him and practically had to lean forward to make the reach. It was weird. Usually when they engaged in intense conversation of any kind, they seemed to gravitate closer to one another. But lately, she'd been physically distancing herself from him.
When they'd first started working together, they sort of revolved around each other like joint satellites, in proximity but never touching. After several months, they had started making physical contact. She had touched his arm once in a gesture of comfort that he seemed not to notice. Another time she had playfully swatted his chest for patronizing her. The playfulness was completely unexpected, and for some reason it made him feel awkward. Eventually he had hugged her stiffly when she forgave him for insulting the team, and they'd even slow danced. They had gradually come to feel so physically at ease with one another that they practically touched when they walked or stood together, him just behind her leaning down to talk into her ear and her turning to reply to him just over her shoulder.
But for a few weeks now, she had maintained a marked distance. He had noticed she didn't look at him or talk to him as much either. And she more often took Cho with her to question witnesses and run down leads. It had started before his run-in with Red John. Before his date—or rather non-date—with Kristina. He couldn't connect it to any event or altercation. She wasn't angry or uncomfortable. What interaction they had wasn't stiff or stilted. It was just weird. Apparently his ruminating had caused an overlong delay in his reaction to what she was saying.
"Jane?" She prompted, hand still covering his mouth. "Do you understand?"
He nodded against her touch. When she was sure of his agreement, she withdrew her hand and headed to the director's office. Fifteen minutes later, after Van Pelt's "See you Monday!" Jane was heading down in the elevator, clutching his journal and minus his ID card.
For the next week, he studied his journal and went through the bits of Red John files he'd managed to purloin from the CBI. On Wednesday, he received a copy of an update on Kristina's missing persons file from Lisbon. There wasn't much to it—no more than he expected anyway. Still, it was nice of her to think of him and keep him in the loop.
He felt a twinge of regret for not extending the same consideration to her about the night he had come face to face with Red John.
"You OK?" She asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine." He used her own pat response.
"You're sure he said nothing . . ." she asked dubiously. " . . . Nothing at all?"
A short sigh and a light smile. "Nothing," he affirmed quietly. She left him sitting alone on his couch, knowing he lied to her and that he may never tell her the truth about it. Later he sat under the bloody smiley face in his house and pondered the meaning of what Red John had indeed said to him, a quote from a poem by William Blake:
"Tiger, tiger, burning bright
in the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
could frame thy dreadful symmetry?"
But he didn't tell her. He hoarded anything related to Red John, keeping it to himself in the desperate belief that it would bring him closer to his objective without interference from the bureau or—what was most likely—from her. It was all his. Sometimes part of him wished he didn't feel that it was all he had.