Title - House of Cards - Part 1

Author - Kourion

Summary: Acidosis. His body is starving. His spine is starting to protrude through his clothing. Without the IV's, Jane would simply let himself die. /Mental illness. Jisbon-centric.

A/N: Dark times ahead.

This story is based on a theory of Jane having dissociative identity disorder (haven't heard that theory? It's gaining momentum on the internet, as horrific as the idea would be for the character). Do I believe this is the case, and the way the show will wrap up? No. (I mean, the outrage amongst Jane fangirls would be too intense XD).

But I find it fascinating. I find it the most disturbing of any theory I've heard yet on the "who is Red John?" front. Absolutely heartbreaking, if true.

And so I wanted to explore the very idea. Of course...this story is a one shot (well, this is part 1 of two parts, technically), but it IN NO WAY fits in with any of the other stories I have created for Jane and Lisbon. I have opted to keep certain characters from those fics, and incorporate them in this one. Namely Gabbie, who has grown on me ;) But the actual story itself is purely a stand alone.

Very quickly: the second part of this will be of approximate equal length and (hopefully) will be up within a week. There is a bit of a twist in this story (please send me a pm if you think you know what it is!) and even if my natural draw is towards angst, to leave Jane where he is...in this story? Well, I don't have it in me. So please do not get...too depressed yet.

All will be revealed soon :)

"A final comfort that is small, but not cold: The heart is the only broken instrument that works." ~T.E. Kalem

My mother always told me that autumn is the most introspective of the seasons.

Winter is the no man's land. The hibernation of souls outside of life. Souls not yet granted passage to the realm of the living. Souls blanketed under the snow and ice. And then Spring hops along, and equates with birth. Obviously. Buds open, lambs take staggering steps across still brown grass. But there's hope.

There's so much fucking hope...

Summer is the intensity of life, entire. Summer is when I fell in love, and loved with all my heart. And summer is when I thought love would be enough to save someone. When love would be enough to sustain me even if the winter came too soon.

But winter came before autumn this year.

The seasons got it wrong. The stars and the planets and the universe got it wrong.

God got it wrong.

Because Jane is still breathing. His heart is still beating.

And no logic in the world can make sense of it.

If winter is death, then autumn is the time when we contemplate the fact that we are nearing the end. That death is inevitable.

Ideally, we all contemplate the ephemeral nature of life and reach out for connection. Ideally we try to contemplate the beauty of connection, and if we are lucky, some of us may even fall in love.

Fall in love or come to love and have it reciprocated long before we come to pass. Pass to the cold of the ground and the white-grayness of skies that are almost pretty in a harsh testament to life's frailty.

At death, we hope - all will be revealed.

"The pain will pass away, but we won't. It looks like we are doing the fading, but it is only our bodies that fade, Teresa."

That's what my mother used to tell me. When I was little. Or even when I was older. A pre-teen, a 7th grader but still afraid of death so fully that my throat would feel swollen with an allergic sort of horror. A near hysteria whenever I thought too much about the seepage of time from neither here nor there, but from my cells and from my readily beating heart.

A heart, a brain, a skeletal system given to daily notching. Notch, notch, notch. I was becoming smaller and smaller with every passing day. With every day closer to that fulfilled promise. The bodily promise of decay.

And that fear, intense as it was? It would wake me from my sleep with a dying scream in my throat. I'd hear my mother's bird-light flight down the hall to my bedroom...within seconds, usually. On would click the bedside lamp.

On would come the illuminating force of my mother.

Not in the light itself. Not in the physical attributes of a room suddenly glowing with an artificial day.

But in her touch.

I could have closed my eyes forever, and have been soothed by my mother's touch. Her soft hands that always smelled like German chamomile and cloves. Healing plants. And if we were pagans, I would have thought these the scents of a Goddess, coming to extended my life in small rubs across my back. Coming to soothe me even if all she could do - my mere mortal mother - was love me in her gentle way.

In her quiet acceptance of my terror.

It lasted for years. My fear of death.

It crested after my mother's death, and reached a state of paranoid intensity shortly before my 13th birthday.

I still remember that day. My sore belly. Rotund and prickling.

Little brothers banging on the door to use the bathroom.

Blood in my underpants.

And I knew so strongly in that moment that the blood was a testament to the fact... that I was dying.

I was dying, but the exchange was that I could offer life. If I so choose to do so, when older, when ready. The bleeding was an assurance of a living death. It was a reminder that I was closer to the inevitable final stage.

I had already lost my baby teeth. I had already notched my body further in a somewhat poor excuse for a growth spurt, just the year before. And now I had achieved the next stage in the limited number of stages before the complete and final shut down of ME. Of Teresa Lisbon, creature of clay and ash and dust.

But maybe - maybe - I could save that promise of life by holding off on creation.

Certainly for as long as possible. Certainly only when it was needed. When it was called of me to offer it to one who needed it more.

When I turned 13, the panic attacks reached critical mass.

I'd rest in my room while my father drunk himself into a stupor and swore at television game show contestants.

And got beer all over the carpeting...

I'd rest in my room while my five year old brother, Gabriel, would knock on my door in that raspy way. That sensitive way, before he'd whisper-talk, "Eeyore? Can I come in Eeyore? I made you a picture."

But I'd turn out the lights, and pretend I was dead. Pretend I could float away. Out of my body. Up the walls. Up beyond that wretched floral wallpaper and sconce light set that my mother and father had chosen for my room during my infancy.

I'd imagine that I could float up and rest in a nook of egg-white stucco space, watching down on my little family. I'd be an energy of quiet, uncomplicated knowingness. I'd be resolutely still, and unhindered by any terrible wolfish emotion. Emotion that would so often cause me to scream-cry into my pillows for my mother after everyone else had gone off to bed.

I would try my damnedest to convince myself that death was not scary. That I wasn't terrified out of my mind for what had happened to my mom, what would happen to me, and James, and Gabriel. And even Tommy, even if at three he seemed rather safe. Even if his safety was an illusion, padded though he was in a deceptive little enclave of time and space.


I would meditate on the fact that when I did finally die, I would be at peace. And that all the people I loved or would ever come to love would also be at peace. That death would grant us all the ultimate in freedom, and that everything that had pained us while alive would fade away. Scars erased.

Wounds healed forever...

The air is cold, the light is grey and the sky is as bleak as a cannery in February. In fact, the sky is almost white. White like a dead bellied fish. A mushroom cloud, white-of-doom.

The sky is a sheet of finality draped over 7 billion corpses.

A sheet for the dead, the destined dead. Even if the appropriate colour for a smothered planet would be red. A stinging red.

Yes, Jane. Red, indeed. The most appropriate of all colours for the horror of a life so intermingled with death.

The sky should be red, and full of golden stars that have come to pay their respect for the dying. An astral offering of something more to all the little clay men and women who are washed in broken bits of one another. Covered in brokenness; getting red all over the earth.

But the light today is cutting, and spears the dotted landscape. Off in the not-too far distance, I can catch sight of the trees lining the establishment. A fringe group of gnarled trees, outlined in black frozen stillness, and denuded of colour.

It got so cold this year. It turned cold, so quickly.

There is a scent of red-salt-saline filling my nostrils. I choke down a swarming burst of blood as it winds its way into my throat and courses into my belly.

There is no heat in the fluid. Everything in me is cold now. My skin. My breath. My blood. The remnant blood from my crying. So excessive for one who has always prided herself on never crying. On never shedding a tear as an adult.

And now I have cried so frequently, no profusely - that my nose won't stop spilling forth a river of crimson.

I have cried every day for the past 33 days.

Today is day 34, and the first day of November. A cold month. Gritty and gray and lacking in charm.

But today is the first day that I have managed not to cry, and I'm taking it as a sign. A sign that I am meant to come here. Come to this place of stone and anemic walls, and men in padded rooms, dressed in starched white bindings.

A white even more intense than a mushroom cloud sky.

Of course, the crying had to cease sooner of later. I knew this.

It's not possible to cry forever.

It's a bodily override, I guess. And necessary given that my eyes are chronically red and swollen up now. Little raisins that have uncurled in water.

It's a wonder they haven't closed up entirely. That I am not allergic to sight.

Because I don't want to see this. Him. Jane. Not now. Not when (if!) he's being claimed by a devil.

My nose wouldn't stop bleeding for nearly four weeks.

But today, it did.

The copper sign reads as "The Browning Whitman Sanitarium," and I get out of my car to press on the intercom button. *104.


This facility is heavy-duty-intense, and surrounded by a 14 foot perimeter of wrought iron affixed with charming spokes that could easily skewer through the heart of a blue whale. The fence is interspersed with electric wiring.

No chance for escape here. People who come here, stay here. If they try to leave, unauthorized - they die.

Set against the compound is a beatific grove of trees and climbing plants. Greenery the tortured souls housed here will probably never get to see. But The Browning Whitman Sanitarium is a hospital, not a jail. Even if the exterior alone reminds me of some perverse blend of concentration camp come The Overlook Hotel.

No. The only way in is through.

And the only way through is in. Into his mind. Into his heart.

In, find, grasp, hold on for dear life. Pull him out again. Pull him out with everything I have...

For Jane, the only way out is... with me. I know that now. And I think that's why I've finally stopped crying.

I think that's why the bleeding is slowing its course.

I hit the intercom buzzer with one frozen burgundy mitt. The speaker panel flares alive with a starchy burst of welcome. A woman's voice streams through to my ears.

"Name, visitor ID authorization code, and nature of correspondence, please."

I try to clear the albatross from around my throat before speaking. I try to swallow away the glass shards that have imbedded themselves into my vocal chords.

"My name is...I'm Teresa Lisbon. Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon. I," and my hand shakes with my folded piece of paper. Paper of a thousand pounds. Marked in an arresting blue, with a cold ID listing. Its very necessity makes me want to bawl.

"I'm sorry, I...I'm here to see a patient. Patrick Jane. I...my code is A152T-1760. I...have authorization from Patrick's acting psychiatrist for this visit. Dr. Eugene Sattler?"

The wait is interminable.

The wait is nothing at all.

"Thank you, Agent Lisbon. Please return to your vehicle and wait until you hear the buzz signals. The gates will open on the third buzz. Please drive through to the west end parking lot. Dr. Sattler has been informed of your arrival and will be waiting for you by the entrance of Maudsley Hall."

Maudsley Hall. It sounds almost scholastic.

"Thank you," I whisper after several frozen seconds.

Thank you, to what I'm sure is a dead intercom.

A man swaddled in a white coat is waiting for my arrival. His hair is sparse, fine, and covers his cranium in a fuzzy sort of way. Like a halo.

I try not to dwell too long on the symbolism, and quickly scour the car for my purse, wallet, ID. Then I rush to lock the door, and will away the relentless jolting of blood against my ribcage. The force of the beating is making me nauseous.

We stare at one another through the blueish glass of the SUV, before I gather enough courage to exit the vehicle.

"Agent Lisbon," Dr. Sattler grants me a severe nod when I finally manage to meet him on the steps. Cobblestone steps, worn and tidy, with mossy edges as if this clinic has been transported from some British sector. Not located in California at all.

Dr. Sattler extends his hand now, and the lightest impression of something that I think is supposed to be a smile. Or the closest thing to a smile that the man can probably manage.

I try to do the same, but find my facial muscles will not work.

His life work, after all, is in the treatment of psychotic or dissociative men.

Deeply dissociative and ruined creatures. Men as gnarled in form as the trees that line this courtyard.

Men of expressive violence, who have come from the worst violence themselves, or who were born into outright perversion. Perversion, and ruin, and have now...cracked.

Even if the crack was so clean as to have been little more than a hairline fracture...it's still a crack. A break. A fracture through the soul.

"I am...encouraged by your presence, Agent," Dr. Sattler begins, still with proffered hand.

I shake his arm numbly.

"I...had to see him," I start, by way of introduction, and my voice sounds terrible, almost... unknowable. But that can't be helped. No person cries for 22 days straight and emerges from that time sounding like they haven't swallowed a vat of battery acid.

It's a wonder I can even speak at all...

Dr. Sattler's office is not what I've been expecting. Not that I formally conceived of the space. But...

The room is wide, and open, and splashed in green and muted goldens. There is a statue of a character - a woman - shrouded in a purple-black gown, arms bare. Two hounds trail either side of her.

"Hecate," Dr. Sattler clarifies. "One of my patients sculpted it. Goddess of the crossroads. She inhabits the underworld, but isn't without kindness, compassion. Though dogs trail her, and screaming cries flow to her...she hears the cries of the dying, and of the ones who die before their time."

"Before their time." What does that even mean, anyway?

But I nod. More to be polite, than for any other reason.

"I...there are no couches?," I start suddenly, needing to change the topic of conversation.

"We don't conduct therapy here," the doctor states easily, and for once I'm reminded of Jane. In the...very act of such perceptiveness. "This room is where I write and work on treatment plans for our patients. And where I hold meetings with family, or with..."

He seems at a loss as to what to call me. For how to classify, or categorize, my relationship with a man who killed his wife and child.

Certainly someone's boss would never make a trek to this place. To the crossroads. Not to visit with someone so disordered. Someone who...

Don't think about it. It wasn't Jane. Jane didn't do it.

Jane never could have done that. And you're here to see Jane.

Not Red John.

No, Dr. Sattler doesn't know how to peg me at all. For one who has given her life to catching the violent as intensely as this man has given his time to treating those captured, I must confuse him.

Agent Teresa Lisbon. Senior acting agent of the Serious Crimes Unit. Inquiring about a man charged with murdering nearly 30 people.

Don't think about it.

My stomach is bleeding again.

You can't afford to think about it.

Rigsby had to drive me to the hospital on Tuesday after I brought up thick cords of bile-blood. Black blood. Gritty, like coffee grounds from my wounded stomach.

"No, this is not where we hold our therapy sessions. Not with our residents, but we do offer therapy for loved ones on occasion."

I freeze. Wonder if this man is implying that I am now, by extension, also sick.

"It's alright...I am not...I-"

I can't do this.

Dr. Sattler entwines his fingers. Clasps them together and rests them on his desk. To the left side of him I can see a box of Kleenex with clouds drifting lazily across a sea of purple sky. A fantastical and unreal sky, caught on a paper box covered with the words "ultra soft".

Obviously, people do a lot of crying in this room.

"I understand. You...are here in hopes that Patrick can be...saved. That...despite everything that we've learned about his dysfunction and the worst of his actions, that he can be fixed."

"Dysfunction" is such a misleading word. It makes it sound as if Jane has a phobia of going down an elevator, or of touching door handles or something equally... tame.

But Dr. Sattler's eyes are kind. Far kinder than what I would have associated with one who works with men of Red John's caliber. Or worse. So much worse than that.

For one who works with good men possessed by demons.

Good men who have apparently cut up their own wives, unaware. Their own children.

And how did he not know? Covered in blood? He must have been absolutely covered in blood. So much of it, and so often.

Did Jane change out of one pair of clothes - clothes that he killed in, only to stagger into his bedroom? Only to find another three pieced suit, clean his body, put it on? And forget?

How could that have happened one time? Never mind twenty eight times?

I gag on fresh grief, and look away.

"I know...something like this...like what Jane did...it can never be fixed. But I...I...what I felt for Jane, for Patrick. I can't ignore that. I can't ignore the fact that he's here, in this...place. And that he's trapped in that mind. That he's hurting. I-"

I can't breathe.

"You loved him."

I can't answer that. So I look away, and think of what doesn't. connect.

Did he come back into himself, while covered in blood? Did he black out and assume he was in shock?

Would a normal person lose such vital periods of time, only to emerge into a world of blood and dead daughters, and not wonder where they had been? Or did Jane's mind fabricate a rational way to explain the fractures of time in that evening?

"You love him," Dr. Sattler says again. This time in present tense, his voice resolute.

"I...," oh god, "yes."

If my voice has broken on such a simple word, then how am I going to get through this day? How am I even going to be able to see him? To look at that face? Look into those blue eyes? That head, cloaked in caramel curls...and not want to scream?

"You may consider this next question somewhat intrusive, but if you can please provide me with an honest and full response, it would be of most benefit to Patrick," the doctor begins in his certain quiet strength.

"You don't need to...," I whisper.

I know what's going to be asked next.

"Were you in love with Patrick?"

I frown at the floor, and bite back an erupting sob.

"I...I've never been in love before," I provide lamely, feeling nothing but red hot shame at my admittance.

I am breaking down in confusion.

Confusion not just over my growing feelings for Jane, but in my recent and equally growing anxiety that something was WRONG. with. him.

And to have those fears confirmed so terribly?

Because I figured this out. I pieced it together. 12 years, no leads, inconclusive DNA evidence.

And something in his eyes had horrified me one evening. A relatively normal night, Jane cloistered away in his attic. His head had been hurting him. All day, it had been tormenting him. I wanted to take him to the hospital.

His eyes were bloodshot, and he seemed almost...

"Are you saying that you don't know...what you felt? Or what you feel, if those feelings are still present?"

And in my horror, I could barely believe the look I found in his eyes. Like a cow before a knife. Wide open eyes. The scent of blood. Jane's eyes had filled with a flowering spastic shaking of his head, back and forth, while I lay down re-tested DNA in a cross comparison report.


"What's this?"

His voice tinged with a knowing, omniscient horror.

"There is a 90% match, but inconclusive features. It's a genetic coding test. Your DNA against the..."

I was a robot, then - that night. I had to be. But even Robot-me could not go on. Could not explain that the DNA from the crime scene had been offered up from a source of spattered semen, and not blood or hair follicles. DNA traces far easier to excuse. To explain away, if I could take some time and reach for some sort of creative alternative.

And that this DNA held a greater than average link to Patrick's own blood? A far greater than average connection? Too close to be denied.

"This...we...," my voice was shaking, so I had to stop. "Tell me how this can be, Jane." And he couldn't. His head, his eyes, his whole body rasping out NO as if NO was his word for God.

And his voice, when he finally spoke, pleading.

"I...don't remember what happened. Lisbon. Why...would I hurt those people?"

But that fucking fear. Like he knew all along. Like...he knew deep down, and he hid it. He hid away his own suspicions, and pushed away the very nugget of possibility.

That terror.

"I wouldn't have done this. I couldn't have done this. I'm not-"

His voice...disjointed and bizarre, and only later would I realize...it sounded very much like the voice of a dying man. And then the largest jolt. The jolt that stopped his heart. And I knew when the very thought finally cut through, and registered.

That he hadn't just killed women. Strangers. That these results didn't indicate the fact that he was profoundly sick. The sickest of the sick. But that, by extension, he had killed his own wife.

His little daughter. His five year old child.

"No, Lisbon. I...Charlotte. I gave her CPR. I-" His skin was the colour of chalk.

"I tried to breathe life back into her body! I didn't want her to die!"

And the gagging had been immediate. Vomit all over the ground before I could grab him a waste-bin. Pain etched in his features as if I had been branding him. Burning him. The others had already been outside the attic. Standing guard. Cho, with his hand at his hip, gun at the ready. His eyes flickering back and forth in awareness.

Ready to take Jane out in a single shot. But no hatred in his gaze.

And Rigsby, sturdy Rigsby. Holding Jane against the floor once the panic bubbled to an intensity none of us had been prepared for, and had encouraged him to flee.

Because there could be no more running.

"Do you feel that it is wrong to feel love for him?," Dr. Sattler asks me with less caution now, and the reminder that I do in fact love Jane effectively cuts through the empty scatterings of any false civility.

"No! I...," breathe, "what does that have to do with anything?"

I'm so hot with emotions that won't die down - even in the illumination of Red John's identity. But I don't want to be awaken yet again.

"I'm not here for *me*, doctor. I don't need therapy," I rasp, when all I receive for my troubles is silence.

"You truly believe that you can emerge from this, without problems of your own?"

My head whips up from floor to golden brown eyes. Hazelnut eyes.

"I don't need therapy. I'm not sick," I growl, now defensive.

Those hazel eyes still so unbelievably fixated on me. The intensity of the gaze reminds me of Jane. When Jane was Jane.

"Sickness stems from trauma. Do you want to state that what has happened to you in this situation... is in no way traumatic?"

"You think...you think this is my fault? I...I knew something was wrong with him but I never-"

"Teresa. No," a muted voice, and suddenly my cold hands are cradled by warm ones, and that makes me want to cry. "You did not make this happen. This was already happening all the time. All the time, behind the scenes."

I study the ridge patterns of the oak desk. The knots in the wood. Like blood clots in a vein. Death, ever at the fore. Ever ready.

"I...never saw him change. From Jane...to someone violent. I never saw that. Not once. Not once in eight years."

The last time I roused from the sleep of ignorance, it almost crushed me.

I do not want to be roused again.

"I...how do we know?," I plead, "How...couldn't, couldn't this be a breakdown? Because...he's...the guilt! The guilt, and his sense of...complicity, in tempting Red John, and how-"

The pressure of warmth increases. Another notch on the ladder of death.

"This is...denial, Teresa. You've read the literature that I sent to your home, haven't you? On Patrick's formal diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder? His...splintering of personality into that of the serial killer, which he calls Red John?"

I cannot afford to lose my ignorance. Not when knowledge hurts this deeply.

"There's no proof, though. Nothing conclusive. Suggestions. There are suggestions, and there is-"

"It's more than a suggestion, Teresa. Those DNA results..."

"It's not 100%, and with his...breakdown? In the past?"

Root-beer eyes, patient and still.

I have the floor.

"I know what it looks like," I try again. "But I knew Jane, before this...his...this thing. This episode. And he's not evil. He's not even violent. He talks about violence, because he wants to...kill Red John. He wants to annihilate anything evil. But I know he's a good person."

My eyes are pleading in necessity.

"Patrick Jane is a good person," the doctor agrees, after a ten second lag. "But he's a sick person. He is severely mentally ill, Teresa. His body has been the vehicle for extreme violence even if another mind has been responsible for those killings, and that's exactly how you have to look at it, now."

"I can't believe that. I didn't fall in love with...with-"

Dr. Sattler's eyes register awareness at my admittance, and he intersects the conversation - this time to my relief.

"That's how...a court has looked at it. That's why he's here, Teresa - and not in jail. Because Patrick is not a killer. Red John is a killer. Patrick's body houses two different minds - more than two, actually - but one of those minds - ONE of those people, is the person you fell in love with, and the person who is in this clinic, now. The person who is hurting. And that's exactly how you have to think of it when you're in there with him."

I press against the table with the palms of my hands and try to stop the trembling in my limbs.

If anything, the attempt makes my body revolt all the more.

"Would you like for me to accompany you inside?"

I stare at the door to Jane's room as if it is a venomous snake.

"I...have to do this alone."

Dr. Sattler nods, and then untangles a security card from his pockets. Before drawing the plastic through the black lock box, he reiterates the format of expected conduct one more time.

As if I could forget...

"He has had...a tapered dose of Haloperidol today. Far less than what he's been on for the last two weeks. We have been weaning him off the drug since Tuesday. But he's still going to be incredibly drowsy. It's not uncommon for patients dealing with the severity of Patrick's affliction to...revert to stronger personalities during times of great anxiety. It's possible..."

My mouth is dry and tastes of something foul.

"Red John," I wheeze, sans preamble. "I can't...go in, and see him if-"

The fact that his hands and legs are fettered by a straight jacket is not my concern.

My concern is that I will search Jane's eyes for some type of recognition.

And I will find it.

But not in the man I know.

"No...not at all. I...would not leave you alone with Patrick for a moment if I thought Red John would make an appearance. In fact, the only personality of violence that has emerged since his admittance here...has, well, it has never been Red John."

It has never been Red John.

Never Red John.

But another personality? Another violent personality?

But not Red John?

I'm missing something. What am I missing?

"Who then?," I stress, noting absently that I'm being downright rude now, but lacking the energy to correct for it. "How can you determine any of this? Did Jane TELL you that he was a different person? Because Jane had a breakdown before, Dr. Sattler. He's tried to kill himself before."

I don't know why I'm fighting him on this. I was the one that obtained the DNA sample. I am the one who went to La Roche, my gut a tangled, knotted mess. I am the one who even thought it *possible* in the first place.

"It was a different personality, Teresa. A very...removed personality. The gate keeper personality that oversees Patrick's functioning. It is not normally...violent. But it has acted aggressively on occasion. Yesterday, for example."

Jesus, how often has this happened? And why have I never seen it? How could none of us never have seen it?

"In the last six days, it has been the dominant personality. The man you know...is still in there, somewhere, but I had to prepare you for the possibility that you may not get to talk to him today."

After everything that has happened, this statement shouldn't make me want to cry. But it does.

Because I haven't seen Jane in over a month.

And if I go in there, looking for him, and he's not there...

If someone else is there, instead...

"Maybe he'll come because I'm...I came. I'm here. He knows me."

My voice is a litany on the air. One, I hope, that will be carried through white padded bodies and locked up hearts.

When the doctor doesn't answer, I go for practicality.

"What do I call him? If it's not Patrick? Not in there, today, I mean?"

Dr. Sattler suddenly looks haggard.

"He will tell you his name. If it's someone else, he will let you know."

The room smells like hand sanitizer.

Hand sanitizer and lemons.

The man I know as Patrick Alexander Jane sits off in the left hand corner of the room, his body wrapped up in a straight jacket. The genuine article.

If the entire situation wasn't so ghastly, I would have probably been compelled to laugh. As it stands, Jane's head is slumped to rest against his chest. His legs have fallen over to one side in a heap, and his chest and thorax lay flush against the ground. His eyes are closed, and his breaths seem evenly timed.

For one moment, I'm convinced that he's sleeping - or possibly, crazily - cat napping. Like he always used to do at the CBI. But the logical part of me knows this isn't true, and so I reach out with an almost butterfly lightness to touch the top of his head with my hand. His face is drawn, and angular. He looks thin.

Far too thin...

He shirks away and makes a noise not unlike a frenzied animal. Low and ripping. Deep from an inner cavity full of nothing but pain.

I shrink back. The room suddenly seems brighter than is possible, and the lemon spray suddenly stings my skin and lungs.

This is real.

"Jane. It's...me, Jane. It's...Lisbon."

God have mercy.

Jane's eyes rise to half mast, and he stares unblinkingly at the white wall before him.

He's listening. Or...someone is listening. I fight down assailing chills, and make no move to remove my coat.

"It's...I'm sorry, Patrick. That I couldn't come right away. I couldn't...but I missed you. So much."

I choke down something huge.

Jane's eyelids flutter.

"I missed you so much. Please talk to me."

I'm whispering. But someone is hearing. And then, impossibly small and low to the ground.


His eyes are open. He should be able to see me.

And he can.

But that's not the point. The point is now - in this place of whiteness and drugs - he doubts what he sees and he doubts what he knows.

I move forward carefully. Like I would with an injured dog. One hit by a car.

One whose guts are strewn all over the street, but who is somehow still alive.

Dying, but not dead.

Not yet.

"Lisbon?" There's a keening need when he says my name the second time, and I want to cry with equal parts relief and heart break.

"Yes, Jane. It's me."

My hand drifts up to his face with less fear this time, even though my hand is now a ghost hand coming to reach for a corpse body. We are both so cold.

His eyes close at my touch, and I can see his ribs through his white starched top. His breathing accelerates into something erratic then, before he lets out a sob, quickly stifled down into something repressed as my fingertips move to cover his eyes.

"It's...," it's not good to see him. Not in this place. But it's...,"oh God, Jane, I've missed you. I never stopped missing you."

And even though his eyes are squished closed - as if he's a little boy, watching a terrifying movie - I can feel that he's crying. I can feel the wetness against my hand.

This time his sob isn't so well contained, and I move up from my knees, to come around to his back. I come around, and press my own body between the wall, and collect Jane like he's a rag doll. He tumbles into my arms and lets me hold him. There's no fight left. No resistance.

He curls up in my arms and cries soundlessly. His entire body shakes, and in a different lifetime, in different clothes, in a different setting...I might have thought he was laughing. Laughing on mute.

But he's drowning in the motion, and when I finally hear an intake of breath, I grasp for him with a surge of fierce love that will not ever die.

Even if this broken body houses a personality that has in fact killed, I still love him.

"I...I," and he's choking on I's.

"I know," I cry, and somehow, without realizing it...I've started to rock him like my mother used to do with me when I was so little.

"I'm...so scared, Lisbon," he breathes against my neck.

"I know," I whisper. "I'm scared too." Because, really - there is no reason to talk any louder. We are pressed as closely together as a couple making love, and no one else is here. And I'm only interested in talking to Jane; everyone else in this building is irrelevant to me. It sounds harsh, but it's true.

"I don't...I don't...," and his voice is etched with some emotion, undefinable.

Or maybe it's every horrible emotion...all at once. Because for all the pain I'm feeling at the moment, I am feeling it for HIM. Yet when I leave this building, I know that my own mind is clear. My own mind is sane.

While Jane is not sane. Not fully. He's only sane enough that from time to time he can grasp the horror of what's happening. And like a lightening strike, straight to my core, his voice weeps into my ear.

"I'm a monster." He's choking on tears and it makes me want to rage.

How could you fucking do this to him, God?

"You are not a monster," I deny, even though I know that he cannot hear my words. Not fully. "You're sick."

"They say I cut them...all of them. That I cut my child up with a knife. I don't remember, I don't. They said I did. I don't...I have no memory of hurting anyone."

His voice is shrill, and the words are breaking down as he breaks down. The expression of his overwhelm is childlike at best, and the innocence in his expression makes my heart break even more.

"I don't want to be a bad person."

"You are not a bad person, Patrick."

His body won't stop trembling, and I can sense unimaginable panic at the fringe of his mind.

I know, because I can feel it at the edge of my own.

"I cut them. I don't remember. I..."

"You didn't cut them," I breathe.

"The doctor says that something in me cut them," he breathes back, and for one crazy moment I feel as if our breath is connected. As if the only reason either one of us can talk at all is because we are breathing into each other. Giving each other life.

And I can't argue with this voice. This child-like voice. Because, maybe, just maybe...I am talking to the child personality. Maybe I'm not even talking to adult Jane.

And how the hell would I know, anyway?

"I'm scared," Jane reiterates, although this time he's not crying.

I don't want him to shut down entirely, so I hold onto him with even greater force.

"What else? What else can you feel?"

I hear him lick his lips.

"It get's dark in here. They turn the lights off when it's night time, and it gets so dark. There's no moon. And then I think I'm dead, and that I'm in hell."

Jane sounds so much like a child that alarm bells are going off in my head.

I stop my rocking, but come to rest my hands against his temples for a moment as if the motion can still his racing thoughts. I then move the soft material of his jacket out of the way as much as possible, and try to place my hand over his chest.

"Your heart is going way too fast," I mutter in concern, more to myself than to him, before I shift his weight somewhat in my arms. My arms already burn from the effort.

He turns his face inwards even more.

"Lisbon, I can't...if I did that..."

He doesn't want to live.

I know. I get it.

He doesn't need to say the words.

Because I can already smell death closing in. It's on his tongue. It's hiding under his clothing, pressing against his body. It's so close to him.

And what's more: he's attracted to death.

Jane wants to die.

"Listen to me, Jane. I...," I swallow down congestion. Four week old tears and blood. "I love you. I won't let anything like that happen to you. I'm...we're...going to get through this."

He closes his eyes, but says nothing. So I lean in close to sense how advanced he is in his pursuit of dying. The scent of his breath is... fruity. Acetone and juicy fruit gum, all mixed up in one. The scent of nail polish remover and chemical fruit.

His body is eating his muscle...

"God damn it, Jane. I can feel your fucking bones."

Why is no one making him eat? Why isn't he outfitted with an IV?

Ketoacidosis. His body is starving. His spine is starting to protrude through his clothing.

"I want to die, Lisbon."

And his voice is pleading with me. Pleading with me, as if he can convince me to help him achieve death. As if this is a reasonable favor to ask from a friend.

From so much more than a friend...

"Damn it, you think I'm just going to let you die? Let you starve to death?"

I am about to go and get his doctor, and have this situation corrected for when I hear his voice.

"Teresa. Please let me go."

I stop my tirade, and fall quiet alongside him. It's stupid, really. It won't fix him.

But did he really think I'll help him kill himself?

"I want to die," he whispers, this time with a staggering reduction in emotion. His voice soft and chilled, as if he's relaying a secret.

*shush, don't tell. shush.*

"Please...please help me-"

"No," I hiss, cutting him off. "No."

His words turn from resigned acceptance, to a gasping sort of retreat, as if I've kicked him; when the convulsion of his throat doesn't abate after a full minute, I realize that this is not mere disappointment. For him, this is an amnesty, denied. For him...this is evidence that I hate him.

That I want him to suffer.

When nothing could be further from the truth...

He must not have been listening when I told him that I loved him.

I stroke his head in weak consolation, not knowing how to translate my thoughts into words that he will hear.

"I know you feel like you can't trust...anything right now," and I still as his tongue, heavy and drugged, laps at my hand. He can't cry anymore. He's too tired to scream. So he's pleading flesh to flesh. Gasping into my skin.

"Jane...," and I want to shake him. Oh God how I want to shake him and make him *hear*.

"I am here, because deep down...sick or not...I do not believe you killed those women," I stress.

I can feel his teeth, biting so lightly when he could just so easily bite me to the bone. And my heart is more certain with every passing second that he's innocent.

That he's as innocent as he is sick. That even if these two conditions seem contradictory, that somehow they are true.

And I'm missing something.

I'm missing something massive.

"I do not believe that you killed your family."

And I have logical reasons for my steadily growing disbelief, despite an illness suggesting otherwise. Despite the DNA evidence.

"You're sick, Jane. I know that. I know that you know that. And I know that it terrifies you. This mental illness, whatever this condition is that's got its claws in you. But..."

Anyone can see that he's ill.

But I don't believe that he's killed anyone.

Even if Van Pelt, Rigsby, Cho and La Roche all believe this is my way of dealing with grief. That this is how I will come to say goodbye to Jane. Protesting his innocence, while he slips away into a world of drugs and electroshock therapy and resolute starvation.

Grieving, and denying reality, just as Jane would have wanted to deny the death of his family.

Because to the rest of the world, Jane does look mad; his teeth, now, grazing my palm. His whole body shaking with a scream he's never fully released.

And I know what this is. This motion, as strange as it is. He's in pain. But he's restraining his pain. He could hurt me. He could cause me to bleed. He could bite me and nip me.

But he won't.

Subconsciously or not, he's both communicating his horror, but also testifying his innocence.

He could tear into me like a rabid animal, and I know this. We both know this. And I know the fact that he's implicating as much tells me just how crushed he is by the very suggestion.

So this, ironically, is his show of affection.

This is his kiss.

Not a kiss of mouth to mouth. Lips against lips.

But lips and teeth and tongue against my hand, and in this simple feeling of his tongue and his teeth and his shuddering yearning to scream, and not to scream...I know this is his protest.

A protest of ultimate innocence in the face of damnation and judgment.

And suddenly, when I let my free arm scroll down his back to rub over bone nubs and vertebrae, and too-cold flesh, I realize why I have come here at all.

And it's not simply that I love him, and that I'll always love Patrick Jane, despite the suggestion that something inside him has killed.

But I'm here for a purpose. A reason.

I am here to find the clues that will free him from this hell.

I am here to prove his innocence.