A/N: Thanks so much for all of the wonderful, amazing reviews guys! I heart you!
And I'm sorry for the delay in updating, technically, I'm still "grounded". I was going to update yesterday, but my dad had the day off so I couldn't get to my laptop until today, sorry.
And this is the LAST CHAPTER guys :'( I'm really going to miss this one, but I had so much fun writing it! Hope you enjoy! Don't forget to review!
The sun was streaming in through the window of the office that Lisbon had commandeered for the last few days. This was her last morning in whoever's office it was and she was spending it standing in front of the desk, crossing her fingers with Jane at her side.
Hightower had made a special trip to Los Angeles just for them. She was sitting behind the desk, pursing her lips and eyeing the two of them skeptically.
"And that's what happened?" she asked, raising a brow.
Lisbon had to work a bit to keep her voice even and steady. She'd never really approved of lying, but found herself doing it more and more often since Jane had started working with them.
"Yes, ma'am," she nodded, "We arrived at Celia Jorge's office to find her receptionist, Julie Carlson, holding Jane and Doctor Reid at gunpoint. We tried to talk her down, but she refused and Agent Morgan took the only shot he had in order to save them."
Hightower narrowed her eyes, shaking her head. "Why is it that I don't believe you?" she muttered, massaging her temples. "Alright, alright… And the evidence you found in Julie's apartment that corroborated her confession?"
Lisbon glanced at Jane, who was being oddly quiet, hands folded behind his back. She sighed and turned back to Hightower, "We found several photos of Lila Archer that had been, um… vandalized. We also found a copy of the key to Lila's house and Lila's shooting schedule. The tech analyst, Garcia, went through the rest of the security footage and found Julie sneaking into Celia's office the night of the murder, after Celia left,"
Hightower nodded, "And you still don't know why the footage from yesterday is… missing?" she asked, eyeing them with piercing brown eyes.
Jane finally spoke up, a smile tugging at his lips, "Nope. It's crazy, isn't it? How the cameras just apparently weren't working during my moment of absolute terror?"
Hightower rolled her eyes, "Oh for God's sake, Jane," she sighed, looking between the two of them. "What about Celia and Harvey?"
Lisbon cleared her throat, "They're both on their way to arraignment in a few hours. Harvey's claiming Celia was the mastermind behind the whole thing; Celia says it was all Harvey's idea,"
Hightower leaned back in her chair, shaking her head. She didn't believe them for a second, but she had a feeling that if they'd told the true story she'd be dealing with FBI and internal affairs for months to come.
"So that's it? Case closed?" she asked, trying not to sound as hopeful as she actually was.
Lisbon and Jane nodded and spoke at the same time.
"Case closed," they agreed.
Hightower nodded, "Good. Then wrap this up and get back to Sacramento. The sooner this is behind us, the better,"
Hotch was waiting outside of the office when Lisbon and Jane exited. Jane immediately made his way to the break room for one last Styrofoam cup of tea, vowing to write the Chief a letter about their lack of proper tea utensils.
"How'd it go?" Hotch asked as soon as they were out of Hightower's earshot. She was on her cellphone, apparently having and argument with her husband, but Hotch didn't want to take any chances.
Lisbon pressed her lips together, "I don't think she bought it for a minute," she admitted, "But she let it go. As far as Hightower's concerned, the case is closed. Who cares who actually took the shot?"
She shrugged, but Hotch could tell she was still uncomfortable about lying to her boss. But she understood that if they'd told the real story, months of inquires would've pushed back the case, and while Reid would probably have gotten cleared, the cases against Celia and Harvey would've fallen under question if his involvement was made known. Covering it up was just easier and saved everyone time and headaches.
Hotch smiled at her, "Thank you, Agent Lisbon. You probably saved my team a huge IA disaster,"
Lisbon cracked a smile, shrugging again. "Nah. I've had to cover Jane's butt for worse. At least Doctor Reid's shoot was good…" she trailed off and glanced toward the small kitchenette where she could just hear Jane puttering around.
"Besides, we would've had an IA crap storm over here too," she told him. "Hightower would not have enjoyed that. We already spend too much time cleaning up Jane's messes."
Hotch chuckled lightly, "If he causes you that much hassle, why keep him around?"
Lisbon smiled thoughtfully, "He closes cases… and he's kind of grown on me," she glanced toward the break room again and sighed, "Besides, we're all he's got anymore. We're his family."
Hotch nodded, thinking about his own team. They were his family… and besides Jack, they were all he really had left too. "I'd keep a close eye on him. He's a good man, but he's been through a lot and he doesn't show it. That's a disaster waiting to happen,"
Lisbon wanted to argue with him, but how could she? He was right. Ever since last summer, Jane had become more and more unstable and she was worried about him. More so than she'd ever been before.
"Don't worry, I'm not gonna let him do anything stupid anytime soon," she said.
Part of her knew how wrong she was. There was no controlling Patrick Jane, but she still hoped, somewhere in the back of her mind, that all his talk of revenge and murder would never pan out. As often as she said she'd arrest him or stop him… she honestly didn't know what she'd do if he ever really did find Red John. And she was scared to find out what he'd do if he found the man. She'd seen that scary light in his eyes when he talked about him and knew that the mind behind it was capable of doing terrible things and he'd had a long time to plan.
Hotch eyed her sadly, thinking that no matter how hard she tried, Lisbon would never been able to prevent Jane from snapping one day, and nodded, "I'd say it's been a pleasure, but under the circumstances…"
Lisbon nodded, "Right," she smiled, "Still, maybe I'll give the BAU a call someday… maybe a less stressful case. And if you guys are ever in California, I'm sure Jane would love seeing Garcia again."
Hotch smiled and shook her hand, still surprised at how strong the small woman's grip was, "She'd probably enjoy that too…"
Reid was sitting in the bullpen, pressing his lips together and holding a cup of coffee between his knees. The team was leaving for the airstrip in a couple of hours and he'd decided to stay behind and oversee Lila's funeral arrangements. They'd never really talked about what they wanted after they'd died. Why would they? They were both still so young, and who would've guessed that Lila would've gone before he did?
He was waiting to go with the team to the jet. He'd only be in LA a few more days, but he was already feeling the weight of being here for nearly a week. He couldn't wait to get out of this city and back home as soon as he could. There were too many painful memories here that he wanted to get away from as quickly as possible.
The young agent look up when Hotch walked in stood in front of him, arms folded. He had a serious look on his face and Reid felt a heavy pang of guilt hit him in the chest. He knew that the team, and Agent Lisbon's team, had risked a lot lying about what had really happened in Celia's office. All to make sure that he would be able to keep his job and not being suspended. He looked down and stared at his hands, not saying anything.
Hotch sighed and move closer, putting a hand on his shoulder, "Reid, listen to me," Hotch kept his voice steady, but he was really worried about the young man. He'd become withdrawn and according to Prentiss, as volatile as he'd been after the Hankel ordeal. Hotch did not like the implications of that.
Reid looked up and winced when he saw the worry in his boss's eyes. He knew what was coming and couldn't really say he blamed him for thinking it.
"What happened to Lila was not your fault and there's nothing you could have done to change that," Hotch told him, "I understand, believe me, I do. I know the pain you're in right now, and … I don't know if it ever really gets any better, but…" he paused, not sure how to word what he was about to say.
The team all knew about his addiction, they'd danced around the subject for years, just hoping it would go away on its own if they didn't acknowledge it.
Reid swallowed and finished it for him, "I know Hotch. It won't make it any better…" he whispered, "I'm not going to do anything stupid, I promise," his words were quiet and he looked down. "As soon as I get back to Virginia, I'll go to a meeting."
Hotch nodded, squeezing Reid's shoulder gently, "We're all here for you, Reid," he reminded him, "If you ever need to talk about anything, you can call any of us, no matter what time it is…" he paused and smiled slightly, "Well, except Rossi. I think he'd appreciate it if you didn't wake him up at 4 a.m."
Reid smiled, laughing lightly, "Yeah, probably…"
Hotch sighed and smile, at least Reid was able to laugh. He let his hand fall from the young man's shoulder and nodded, "And Reid…"
Reid glanced back up at Hotch and the Unit Chief sighed, "Take some time off to get your head right, ok? As much time as you need,"
The young agent nodded. He wasn't sure how long he'd be able to go without work, but he knew Hotch was right. He really shouldn't be working right now. "I will," he promised, taking a long drink of coffee and wondering what he was going to do with any length of time off.
Jane was just pouring the boiling water into his tiny foam cup, muttering to himself angrily about how barbaric it was, when he felt someone behind him and, dipping the small teabag into the water and holding it gently by the string, he turned and smiled when he saw Reid.
"Ah, Doctor, heard the good news yet?"
Reid smiled, "Yes..." he nodded, stepping farther into the break room and looking around for a moment, taking a breath. Jane blinked and groaned inwardly. Damn it. He should've seen this coming, honestly. Why hadn't he insisted on leaving as soon as Hightower told them they could go? Or at the very least, why hadn't he hidden in a closet or something?
Reid noticed the other man's apprehension and he smiled a little wider, "Agent Van Pelt told me you didn't like to be thanked," he said slowly.
Jane nodded and started walking, "Nope, not really. No need to even say it, I was on my way out and –"
"Wait," Reid stopped him and Jane sighed, turning back to face the young man. He liked him, really, he did, but why did he have to say thank you? It's not like he'd really done anything anyway.
"Agent Van Pelt said you didn't like being thanked," Reid repeated, "So I'm not going to say it."
Jane relaxed somewhat. At least that made things a little less awkward. He waited to see what the young doctor wanted and frowned when he passed him a small folder of papers. He sat his foam cup down on the counter and flipped through them quickly. "What's this?" he asked, raising a brow.
Reid took a breath, "I read the Red John case file last night… Agent Lisbon got me a copy. It's just a preliminary profile really. I haven't ever seen a real Red John crime scene, but … maybe it'll be helpful,"
Jane blinked and flipped back to the front, reading over some of it. Reid smiled as he saw Jane's eyes get a sort of crazed, hungry look in them. He'd seen that look every single time Jane mentioned Red John.
"Van Pelt also said you didn't really believe in profiling, but considering that's exactly what you do I don't see how you can't,"
Jane's lips tugged into a grin and he closed the folder, "Well, technically, I'm not profiling them. I'm reading their minds… without actually reading anyone's mind. It's called –"
"Mentalism," Reid supplied, nodding. "I know. I've read books on it. It's very similar to what profiler's do. Reading body language, facial expression… with the addition of mind tricks and hypnosis on occasion."
Jane grinned, nodding. "You are good, Doctor… Ever read any magic books?"
Reid actually grinned, for the first time in nearly a week, and nodded, "Are you kidding? I still do. I used to put on shows for my parents before…" he trailed off and his grin fell slightly.
Jane's eyes sparked, "We have more in common than I thought…" He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes thoughtfully, "How good are you with cards?"
Reid blinked, surprised, "Why?"
"Ever played Poker?"
And Reid's eyes lit up, a smile on his face, "You won't win," he warned the consultant.
Jane's grin broadened. Oh, he loved a challenge. "We'll see about that,"
Morgan and Hotch were quietly discussing exactly how they were going to monitor Reid's behavior without making the younger man suspicious or angry when JJ and Prentiss rushed into the bullpen with excited eyes.
Hotch frowned, "We're leaving in an hour," he said, "I thought you two were back at the hotel getting ready,"
"We were going to but…" JJ trailed off and glanced at Prentiss who continued for her.
"You have got to see this, Reid and Jane are playing Poker,"
Morgan grinned and Hotch's brows creased, "Does Jane know Reid cheats?" he asked.
Morgan nodded, "See, I told you, even Hotch knows he's cheating. A genius who knows magic tricks and he's winning fair and square?"
JJ rolled her eyes, "Oh, please, you guys are just sore losers. Prentiss and I have both beaten Reid before,"
"Once," Morgan muttered, standing from his seat, "C'mon, I've gotta see this. Who's winning?"
Hotch chuckled to himself and looked up when Rossi approached the table, shaking his head. "That is one game I wouldn't bet on," he murmured.
Hotch grinned, "Why?"
The older profiler shrugged, "There's no way to tell who's gonna win. This could go on forever…" Rossi let his voice trail off and Hotch sighed, pushing his chair back and standing.
"More than another hour, huh?"
Rossi pressed his lips together, smiling slightly, "That's possible…"
"I'll push the flight back a little longer. Strauss did give us a week off… Might as well make the most of it,"
Rossi smiled dryly, "Who's your money on?" he asked, raising a brow.
Hotch raised a brow at the Italian and smirked, "I don't gamble,"
"Scared you'll lose? It's 50-50, Hotch, c'mon, you've got a shot at winning," Rossi smirked and the Unit Chief narrowed his eyes.
He looked straight ahead and smiled, "My money's on Reid."
Rossi chuckled, "Mine too… But then, all of Jane's teammates are betting on him. Maybe we're biased,"
Hotch grinned for a brief moment and thought about that, "Maybe. We'll have to wait and see, won't we?"
E/N: And Ta-da! The end! I had so much fun writing this fic and it wasn't even anywhere near as horrific as some of the other things I've written…
I hope you guys enjoyed the wrap up… Maybe I'll write more CM/Mentalist stuff later. We shall see… Anyway, let me know what you guys think! Pretty, pretty please!
Also, "All's Fair in Love and War" (sequel to "The Morning After") should be posted sometime soon, maybe next week. If you're interested, keep an eye out for it.
So, *sniffles* it's truly over. I had a blast guys!
Don't forget to review!