Author's Note: Oh, my God. That finale. There are no words. (Get the pun?) So yeah, this will probably have about nine or ten chapters (or volumes, since I couldn't resist the play on words). I doubt I'll get them out before the next episode, but here's to hoping! And please review, they make my day. :)
THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Silent, silent night
Quench the holy light
Of thy torches bright
- William Blake, "Silent, Silent Night"
It's nearly midnight when Lisbon gets the news.
Her eyelids flutter, eyelashes brushing against her cheeks, eyebrows furrowing in pain. She blinks, and wakes up to find herself in a hospital bed. The room is dark, moonlight from the window creeping in to meet the fluorescent crack under the door. There is a machine by her starched, stiff bed, beeping slowly and incessantly, clear yet quiet in the silent room. She can smell disinfectant and sharp chemicals that travel straight to her brain and make her feel nauseated.
She tries to sit up, and feels a tug on her arm - an IV drip. She reaches over with her other arm, and sucks in a startled breath through her grit teeth. Fuck. Fuck, that hurt. What the -?
She was shot.
She remembers now. Hightower, and Grace, and O'Laughlin - and fuck, she was shot - and Jane, on the phone, and Red John on the phone - and her shoulder aches like a bitch -
Cho's voice startles her enough that she jumps, and immediately regrets it. Fire whips across her shoulder and collar bone, and she can't quell the high whimper that comes from somewhere in her throat.
"Hold on, I'll get a nurse."
He stands up from the chair in the dark corner and before she can say a word he has crossed the room and exited through the door. She bites down on the inside of her cheek, trying to create more pain to distract her from the worse pain, and takes short, shallow breaths until he returns with a nurse.
"You're awake," states the short, balding man, reading from a chart instead of looking her in the eye. "Your drugs have probably worn off. I'll give you some morphine."
Within minutes the pain starts to seep away, dissipating into thin air, and the male nurse disappears along with it. She allows herself to scowl at his retreating back for just a second, before bringing herself back to reality.
"Cho," she croaks, and her voice cracks.
He's by her bedside a second later, handing her a glass of water that she takes with her good hand. The water is cool and silky as it flows down her throat, soothing her raw nerves. She downs it in three gulps.
"Want more?" he asks.
"Nah, I'm alright," she replies, sobering up as she looks at him. "What happened?"
"You passed out before the ambulance could arrive. Severe blood loss. But the operation to remove the bullet was successful, and they said you should regain full use of your arm within a few months."
A few months. Oh, God.
"Van Pelt?" she asks tentatively.
"She's fine. Upset. It's understandable."
She remembers the sound as O'Laughlin's gun went off, the sheer shock and disbelief. Remembers the pane radiating throughout her shoulder, remembers the look on Van Pelt's face, the complete and utter heartbreak.
Oh, God. That ridiculous pink bridesmaid's dress. She won't have to wear it anymore.
She isn't sure whether that makes her want to laugh or cry.
She ducks her head and scrunches her eyes shut, only just now beginning to feel the throbbing behind her temple. Isn't morphine supposed to obliterate any headaches? Do tension headaches count?
"Dammit," she curses quietly. "I can't believe it was him. All this time. And Van Pelt - poor Grace..."
Cho's voice is uncharacteristically hesitant as he interrupts her. Unease crawls over her skin, creeping into her veins. The look on his face doesn't reassure her at all.
"What?" she asks with trepidation.
"It gets worse." He pauses, simultaneously reluctant and resigned to saying the words. "We got Red John."
Her heart starts to thud, pounding so hard against her ribs it is almost painful. She feels nauseated again, sick with nerves and fear. Her lips tremble before she forces herself to speak, her voice breaking.
"That's... that's good news, isn't it?"
But it isn't. She doesn't need to hear his words, doesn't need to see his face. She knows what comes next, knows exactly what he is going to say - but no, it just can't be true, it just can't be -
"Jane killed him," Cho says bluntly.
She shakes her head, refusing to look at him. She wishes she could cover her ears like a child, but she can't lift her left arm.
"Shot him in the shopping mall," continues Cho, unable to even attempt to make the words come out gentle. "He's dead. Jane's been arrested."
"No," repeats Lisbon, stronger this time.
She shakes her head, blinking fast and then screwing her eyes shut. Her heart is racing so fast she wonders if she's having a heart attack. She presses her palm against her sternum, pushing hard, trying to ease the ache that has settled in her bones.
"I wish you were right," continues Cho desperately.
The look on his face is all it takes for her to snap. Because this is real - and she can't breathe, she can't breathe, she can't think -!
A hot flush spreads down her shoulders, a creeping paralysis that that locks her in place, and she can't move, and her heart is racing, and her blood is boiling, and something cracks in her chest, and her guts are rolling, rolling, rolling -
"Cho," she rasps.
He looks alarmed. If she was coherent that may have made her laugh. But she's not, she's sicksicksick - and he must see it on her face, because he grabs the trashcan and is by her bed within seconds, just in time for her to vomit into it.
She can barely even taste the bile in her throat, her mind is so scattered. Everything comes at her in flashes - bombs and phone calls and guns and Hightower and Red John and Jane and more guns and shopping malls and Jane -
"You okay, boss?" he asks, holding the trashcan in one hand and her hair in the other.
She dry heaves a couple of times, then nods weakly and pulls back, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
Cho hands her a glass of water and she gargles and spits into the trashcan. He puts it on the floor and watches her as she leans back. She feels weak and shaky, so shaky that every cell in her body seems to be buzzing. She's dizzy, and still nauseous, and everything is so jumbled up, and she can't see properly, can't hear properly -
And is that Cho's voice, all rippled and warped?
"ShOUld I caLL A nursssEE?"
Everything sounds so distorted she can hardly understand what he's saying, the machine by her bed beeping relentlessly, loudly, overpowering all other sounds. The room spins back and forth around her, dark and grey and cold, so cold, and she feels seasick - and oh, God, Jane -
"No," she whispers, closing her eyes. "No, I'm alright. Just - just give me a minute."
"I don't think -"
The door opens before he can finish his sentence, and the same balding nurse from before enters, frowning. "What's going on here?"
"I'm fine," she whispers, ducking her head, though she feels anything but fine.
"The machines are going nuts," continues the nurse, coming to stand by her bed. "I thought I told you she needs to stay calm!"
He rounds on Cho, who crosses his arms and stares the man down.
"Well, she is obviously not calm! What did you say to her?"
Lisbon tries to focus on their words, struggles to hear past her own breathing, but concentrating is so hard, and she just feels blank, numb, and so very cold.
"You need to leave," stresses the nurse, flailing his arms. "Her body's under enough stress as it is, I can't risk you adding any more -"
"I'm a CBI agent, we're discussing the case -"
"I don't care," cuts in the nurse, standing in front of Lisbon's bed as if to block Cho from coming near. "You can discuss all you want later, but she just got out of surgery and she needs to rest. Now leave, please."
Cho looks at Lisbon, asking silently whether she wants him to stay or go, but she can't bring herself to look back. She gazes blankly at the wall, still trying to take deep breaths, reeling from the news.
"I'm alright," she whispers. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Yes," pushes the nurse, "during visiting hours."
Cho waits another moment, an internal debate raging within him, before he picks up his jacket off the back of the chair and heads toward the door.
"I'll see you tomorrow," he says to Lisbon.
Her response is more air than sound.
As soon as Cho is gone the nurse turns back to her, and pushes something into her IV drip. Lisbon doesn't even pay attention, and barely hears as he says, "I'm just giving you a sedative. You need to get some rest, okay? No more stress today."
She remembers to nod dutifully. She blinks, and when she opens her eyes what seems like a mere second later, the nurse is already gone. She rolls onto her good side, careful not to jar her injury, and tries to curl up into a ball.
She stills feel shaky and light-headed, cold prickles sliding under her skin, into her veins. She's freezing, but can't find the will to bring the blanket higher. She stares at the wall, unblinking, trying to keep her insides still, shivering.
The room is silent, broken only by the quiet beeps, but her breathing is loud in her ears, wavering and scratchy and irregular. She can't even begin to think. Her mind floats somewhere hazily, hovering around the topic but refusing to touch down. It scoots close, then recoils before it can land.
She feels numb.
And freezing. And shaking, and sick, and dizzy.
Is she in shock?
But that doesn't make any sense, because she's not even surprised, not really. Jane has told her he planned to kill Red John. He has told her numerous times, his crazy eyes staring at her with a frightening intensity that she had tried to deny. She knows how he gets around Red John - but she had thought - maybe - that he might -
...not do it.
That he might... see the consequences.
That he might care, about something other than his vengeance.
About justice, about the law. About... her.
Oh, God. Jane...
She presses her shaking hand against her eyes, rubbing so hard it almost hurts. There's something rising within her, bubbling up inside of her, threatening to spill over - she clamps down on the sob that threatens to escape, and clenches her chattering teeth.
She will not cry over him.
She will not.
He brought this upon himself, and he deserves the repercussions -
She can't even finish the sentence. Because... she's not sure he really does deserve them. Logically he does, she knows this objectively, but she doesn't... feel it. She feels...
And so, so sad.
It should be clear. She should be angry at him, but resigned, accepting, because she should have expected it. She should want him to get a life sentence, should want to never see him again, should want to yell at him and then be done with him, forever -
Except just the thought makes her curl in on herself and close her hot, burning eyes, a sharp knot of fear tightening in her chest, by her heart.
She can't see him, but she can't not see him. She wants to throttle him, wants to yell in his face until she runs out of breath, until he finally sees just what he has done - but she wants to help him. She wants to save him, any way she can, even if he doesn't deserve it, because he's... he's her best friend. Is it sad to admit that her best friend is a colleague she rarely sees outside of work?
"I'll call you back," he had said.
Those were the last words he had said to her, and he hadn't followed through with them, and maybe he never will.
He should be here with her now, sitting by her bed, teasing her about that ridiculous bridesmaid's dress and driving the nurses crazy. She has never felt lonelier in her life, and she wonders now if this feeling will ever leave. If the aching hole in her chest will ever disappear - and how can it, when Jane will spend the rest of his life in prison and she'll be alone again?
She didn't know she could feel this way, could experience such a bittersweet victory - because she didn't actually win, in the end, did she?
Eight years. Eight goddamn years she had been trying to prevent this, and she had failed.
This was supposed to be a good night, a beautiful, perfect, heavenly night. She remembers earlier that day, remembers the vaguest sense of hope burning through the air, the light that seemed just barely within their reach.
But along with this night came the darkness, and the cold, and the silence. It quashed any hope of solace she had, leaving only bitter disappointment and stale resignation and gut-wrenching sadness.
Oh God, Jane, what have you done?
She hugs her empty chest for hours and stares blankly into the silence of the night.