Disclaimer: We don't own The Mentalist, we just like to play with the characters. Lavinia is also not ours, she sprang from the mind of the infamous William Shakespeare
A/N Nerwen Aldarion: Hey guys, don't worry Redemption and Red John's Making are still being worked on but I had to feed this muse. A couple of months ago I was reading Titus Andronicus for my Shakespeare class and got completely caught up in the character of Lavinia. Being obsessed with The Mentalist an idea to mingle the two quickly arose BUT I did not share this idea with anyone. The truth was I couldn't believe what I was thinking about writing, what I was thinking about doing to these characters. It's not like anything I've ever done before so I was more than a little skeptical about it. Finally a couple of weeks ago I confessed to my sister about this idea and she quickly retaliated by throwing a remote at my head at disbelief that I had kept this to myself for so long. After a lot of collaberation we finally ironed out the details of this fic. It's dark, it's angsty and it's sad but it has a beautiful light to it as well, at least I think so. You'll have to read to find out.
A/N Tinuviel Undomiel: I like angst, but what happens in this story is ANGST. I don't normally go for stuff like this, but my sister is an excellent salesman. I swear, she can talk me into anything. This story is about darkness, but also about healing for both Lisbon and Jane. And yes, Jisbon is included. I hope you all enjoy it.
WARNING: This fic has very strong and violent themes including graphic imagery. It is not for the faint of heart.
NOTE: The title is Lavinia, a character from Titus Andronicus. The chapter title comes from the same play.
Chapter 1: To Villainy and Vengeance Consecrate
Lisbon never trusted lawyers, any kind of lawyers; she always found them sneaky and cheats. Which is why she gave ADA Cole Sanford a very critical gaze from across the interrogation room. The fact that he worked for law enforcement raised him a few pegs from most people, though she could only name one or two DA's or ADA's that she'd actually liked. The fact that Sanford could very well have taken a bribe to tamper evidence negated any positive outlook from his choice to be a prosecutor.
"Agent Lisbon, the longer you keep me in here the more perilous your chances of receiving future help for me become." He told her with a cold gaze.
She ignored his words, if he wanted to issue threats than that was fine. She was going to do her job as she saw fit. "As you well know, evidence from the Hawkin's case has been mishandled."
"Of course I know, I was there when the judge issued a mistrial."
"Good, then you will be happy to tell me about your name being on the docket signing out the evidence."
Sanford put both hands on the table calmly. "My name is on there because I checked out the evidence."
"And then tampered with it."
"No, I did a cursory look over what we had because I was preparing for court."
Lisbon raised an eyebrow. "But you didn't tell anyone else what you were doing."
He shook his head. "It was just a routine check, I wanted to refresh my memory on what we had, it didn't seem important to tell anyone else."
She nodded, it was a pretty good explanation but it was also fairly weak. "The problem I have with this is that you were the last one to check out the evidence before it was mishandled."
"An unfortunate coincidence."
"Perhaps," Lisbon said, "or maybe when I go through your financials I'll find a sudden windfall of cash." She kept her eyes focused on his. "You had some money troubles in the past, you had to mortgage your house and your assets. That is why your wife left you correct? For gambling problems."
Sanford's eyes burned with real anger. "I got help, I no longer gamble."
"But it is so easy to slip up isn't it? Maybe you fell back into old habits and found yourself with a debt you couldn't pay. Perhaps Dunley made you an offer you just couldn't refuse."
His eyes narrowed. "You can't play this game with me, Agent Lisbon. I didn't tamper with that evidence; I did not accept any bribes. You are looking for a different man."
Lisbon stood up from the table. "We'll see about that." Then she confidently strode out of the interrogation room.
She thought Sanford was a viable suspect, but it was always a good idea to get Jane's opinion on the matter. She knew he would be watching from the observation room, getting a feel for Sanford and judging whether he could be the man bribed to get Gerald Dunley off for murder. The only problem was that sometimes their idea for suspects clashed. The bigger problem was that Jane was 99.9% right on his ideas, despite her prayers to one day one-up him.
Jane was peering through the mirrored glass at Sanford, probably reading every thought from his face. She'd known Patrick Jane for eight years and she still had no clue how he managed to be so eerily accurate.
"So, what do you think of him?" Lisbon asked once she was inside.
Jane didn't look at her. He shook his head and said, "Eh," as a negative response.
"Oh you've got to be kidding me," she said, "Why not him? He has motive, opportunity and he is the last one on the list. All signs point to him, why not you?"
Jane looked back at her and shrugged. "He's not squirmy enough."
Lisbon blinked three times. "What?"
"Sure Sanford has the whole package and I could certainly see him doing something like this, but it wasn't him. Whoever ruined the evidence is putting their career on the line and clearly has never done anything like this before. Sanford fits the bill, but if he did do it then he would be nervous: sweating, shifting in his seat."
Jane pointed to the glass. "But look at him, he's angry and annoyed, but not squirmy at all."
"Squirmy," Lisbon said, "You want me to release Sanford because he isn't squirmy enough for you?"
Jane grinned and nodded.
"Let's say I did that and now we jump ahead in time," she said, "I'm on the stand and the defense attorney is questioning me."
She straightened up and cleared her throat like a typical lawyer. "Agent Lisbon, is it true that you released a viable suspect, one with clear opportunity and motive, because your colleague said he wasn't squirmy enough?"
Lisbon met Jane's eyes. "What am I supposed to say to that?"
"Well then you would arrest the defense counsel because clearly they have been illegally eavesdropping if they are quoting our conversation."
Now Jane was smiling with pride at his clever comeback. Her point had been turned around and thrown back in her face. How the hell did he do that?
"Seriously, Jane," she said, "I can't scratch him off our list just because he doesn't squirm. Maybe he's just more confident than you think."
"Or maybe he's innocent and that's why he's confident that you won't arrest him."
Lisbon crossed her arms and shook her head at his smile. She truly despised him sometimes.
Just then Cho knocked on the door and poked his head in. "Boss, what do you want us to do with Sanford?"
Lisbon said, "Keep digging," while at the same time Jane said, "Let him go."
She gave Cho her 'don't listen to Jane look' and he nodded. "Got it, boss."
Once the door was closed, she whirled back around to give Jane her most disapproving glare. Like always, it didn't work. "I have the badge," she said, "that means I give the orders."
"So if I get a badge, can I give the orders?"
Her allotted amount of Jane Patience was reaching its zenith. She could feel the pressure beating at the back of her eyes, pounding out that painful rhythm Jane was so frequently the cause of. She groaned and pinched at the bridge of her nose in a desperate attempt to stave off the incoming headache.
"I'm giving you a migraine again, aren't I?" he said, "That's twice in one week."
"Are you trying to make a new record?" she asked. The most he'd ever done was three.
Jane grinned and shook his head. "I would never purposefully cause you pain."
"You just like accidently driving me insane," she replied.
Since her order was being carried out, despite Jane's wishes, she had no reason to stay in observation. Cho could finish up with Sanford without her guidance. She needed to return to her office to update Bertram since he was anxious to wrap up the case before the fundraiser later that night. Besides, distance from the source of her tension would probably ease it.
Unfortunately, said source decided to follow her.
"You know the reason you get these headaches is because you know I'm right, you just don't want to admit it."
"No," she said, "that can't be right. I've had the same five foot ten, blonde headache every day for the past eight years, I know where it originates."
"Ooh, zinger," he said with a grin of approval. She couldn't help but smile back at her own cleverness. Jane wasn't the only one who was witty.
"But you'd know you'd miss me if I suddenly up and disappeared."
"Oh no I wouldn't," she said. She knew full well that was a lie. Patrick Jane, out of her life? Perish the thought.
"Of course you would."
"No I wouldn't. I'll prove it. For the rest of the day I'll pretend you don't exist and then you can come back to me and ask how much I miss your irritating ways."
"You know you need me."
"Oh I do?"
"Yes," he said, "You know your solve rate would drop astronomically without me."
The last time he'd said that, she'd left him stranded at a crime scene. Later he'd bought her strawberries as an apology. Well she didn't see any strawberries now.
Her green eyes turned into withering slits, but he wasn't jaded one bit. "Say that again and I swear you won't have any teeth left to smile with."
"Ah, Agent Lisbon, still resorting to violence, I see."
Lisbon turned her attention away from Jane to the owner of the voice, one she recognized. It was Kyle Hathaway, reporter for the Sac Chronicle who covered the crime beat. "Only when it's necessary."
She glared at his hostile response. "What the hell are you doing here anyways?"
"I was speaking to your director. I plan on covering the Bureau's fundraising gala tonight." He gave her a quick glance over. "I assume you'll be there."
"Can I count on a quote from you?"
"How about a hand gesture?" she suggested instead.
"Then I'll be very descriptive in my article," he said. Hathaway gave her a cool nod. "I will see you tonight."
"I'm counting the seconds." He made no response to her dry words, just brushed past her on his way to the staircase.
Jane studied him as he walked by. "Hathaway," he said to Lisbon, "Isn't he the one that you broke his camera."
"I did not break his camera," she snapped, "He snuck into the crime scene and was taking pictures. I tried to confiscate his camera, but he wouldn't let it go and it accidentally hit the wall."
"And then you took the film."
"I had to. It was evidence."
Jane have her a nod as if to say that he understood. "He filed a complaint, right?"
"He lost," she said, "He had no proof, he was just being spiteful because he got caught." Lisbon shrugged. "It wasn't a big deal, I handled it like a professional."
"Didn't you call him the 'King of All Assholes'?"
She looked away sheepishly. "Okay, maybe that wasn't professional." She looked up at Jane again. "Nor was it right, since that title belongs to you."
Jane chuckled. "You are on role today, my dear Lisbon. I'm proud of you."
"Bite me," she said before turning around to walk away towards her office.
"Aw," he groaned, "And you were doing so well. You can be more original than that."
Lisbon turned back around and gave him her "quote" to Hathaway before stepping into her office, closing the door on Jane's smiling face.
The day continued with the case still stuck in a limbo, Jane remained convinced that Sanford was innocent and when his financials came back clean, Lisbon began to believe that he might be right…again. Damn him. Instead she had Rigsby look for any hidden accounts while she and Grace turned their attention to the people employed in evidence storage.
"I think I found something," Van Pelt said, breaking the silence and hopefully the case. Lisbon walked over to the young agent's desk to listen to the new piece of evidence. "John Lawrence, he works in evidence storage. He just got flagged for putting down twenty thousand dollars into real estate up in Redding."
Jane let out a low whistle, "That's a steep investment." He smiled up at Lisbon, "and generally more than an employee of the CBI could afford."
She had to agree with Jane on that point. "All right, bring him in, let's see what he has to say about his sudden windfall." When she turned around Jane was still grinning at her. "No I will not say it. You are not right."
Jane cocked his head and his eyes sparkled with amusement. "I said that Sanford didn't do it and now we have a new viable suspect. Tell me, Lisbon, what is your definition of 'right'?"
Lisbon decided to ignore his gloating. "Well do you want in on this interrogation or will you just observe and test Lawrence on the Squirm Factor?"
He smiled again, "Squirm Factor? That sounds like a bad reality show."
Suddenly a new migraine was beginning to form. "Get away from me before I hurt you."
Despite her scoffing at what she dubbed the Squirm Factor, Lisbon couldn't help but wonder if perhaps Jane was on to something. In no time Jane and Lisbon had extradited a confession from Lawrence who had spent the entire time squirming like a little boy in church. Jane had smiled knowingly at her while she and Grace had hauled Lawrence out for booking, she did what she could to ignore him.
So Jane was right again, what else was new?
Lisbon and Grace were happy to leave Lawrence in the hands of the officers at county, they were all ready for this case to be over so that Bertram would stop breathing down their necks. Now they could turn their focus to the fundraiser that night, something Lisbon wasn't exactly looking forward to but had to take seriously.
But as they were waiting for the elevator to head back up to the bullpen Lisbon caught sight of yet another hostile face and she had to stifle a groan. Long ago she had decided that if she never saw SACPD Officer Dave Ryckart again that it would be too soon.
"Agent Lisbon," he greeted her curtly, he wasn't even trying to hide his disdain. Well that just mean she didn't have to either.
"Officer Ryckart, what brings you back to the CBI?" she asked, keeping her voice slightly lukewarm to be polite. She could still see Grace giving her a questioning look out of the corner of her eye.
"I'm head of security tonight at the Fundraiser," Ryckart explained.
Great, another reason to dread tonight then. Lisbon simply nodded instead, "Well the CBI appreciates your work."
He didn't reply but instead looked Grace up and down with a very critical gaze. "I assume you work with Agent Lisbon."
Grace nodded, "I'm Agent Van Pelt," she said nicely and politely held out a hand for him to shake. He didn't accept her offer though.
Ryckart turned back towards Lisbon and shook his head with disgust, "It appears you have quite an influence on her. A pity that the disease is still spreading."
Lisbon had to resist the urge to throttle him right then and there. As it was she couldn't resist cutting in just before getting into the elevator. "I agree with you, after all you are here." She did relish his look of outrage as the doors closed leaving her with the last word.
"What was his problem?" Grace asked, clearly disgusted at Ryckart's behavior.
Lisbon rolled her eyes. "Ryckart is the biggest sexist at the SACPD. He has a problem with women in the workplace…especially those that are superior."
She shook her head. "I saw his wife once at an office party a few years ago. Skirts down to her ankles, everything was covered from neck to wrist. It was like walking back into the Victorian era."
"He seems to especially dislike you."
"Well I got in his way once. I reported him for being too harsh with a female witness and he did not take it well. A black mark on his record is bad enough, but coming from a woman…" Lisbon shook her head. "You can see why we don't get along."
Grace nodded. "Sounds like a real asshole."
Lisbon couldn't help but smile as she remembered her run in with Kyle Hathaway and the conversation with Jane. "Apparently today is the day for them."
The team was busy finishing up the reports for the Lawrence arrest while Jane was being Jane. Lisbon decided it was as good a time as ever to give Wainwright a final update on the case so he could inform Bertram to leave her team alone until the next major case comes up.
Wainwright was in his office; now doubt still looking over the final details for the fundraiser ball, when she knocked on his door. "Agent Lisbon, I hope you come bearing good news."
"We made an arrest, John Lawrence confessed to tampering with the evidence after accepting money from Dunley."
"That is good news, I'll inform Bertram immediately and now we can put this mess behind us. Your team did good work."
"Thank you sir." She peeked over at the mess of paperwork, guest lists and layouts for the plaza. "Preparations for the fundraiser coming along?"
Wainwright smiled sheepishly. "When I took the job as Special Agent in Charge no one told me I would also have to play event organizer for the rich and famous."
That made her smile too. "It's only once a year and it does do a lot of good for the budget. Just make sure to smile and hide how you really feel about them."
"Sounds like you have a lot of practice."
"Well it is mandatory, I've been to enough of them to last me a lifetime." Lisbon grinned back at him. "I'll see you tonight sir."
Lisbon was ready to head back to her office and finish up her own paperwork before preparing for a night of champagne and awkward dancing. As she was walking down the hallway towards her office she was almost bowled over by a stranger to the CBI.
"Oh I'm sorry," the man said and Lisbon looked up to see a tall man with black hair and dark brown eyes. He was very handsome and after looking her over, apparently liked what he saw. "Actually I take that back." That comment couldn't help but make her smile a little which made him all the more happier. "I assume you work here."
She nodded. "I'm Agent Teresa Lisbon and you are…?"
She raised her eyebrows at the last name. "Wainwright…as in Luther Wainwright?"
Jasper smiled. "He is my younger brother." She could see the resemblance now though Jasper had a stronger aura of confidence and power. Just how much more she wasn't entirely sure.
"Well, I can see the resemblance," she commented sweetly, "you must be here to see him."
He nodded but studied her again. "I must say Luther has been very remiss, he never mentioned you."
"Well I doubt he wants to discuss work too much."
"Or would prefer to keep you to himself."
That threw Lisbon for a loop. She had a feeling that he was trying to be flirtatious but she wasn't sure how she felt with him suggesting anything romantic between her and her boss. "Oh I don't know about that," she said and began to search for a way out of this conversation.
"Well Luther might have missed it, he has a tendency to see things differently then I do." Jasper said with a saucy wink. "He's something of the black sheep in the family, going into the admittedly more interesting career of law enforcement. I chose the more financial secure route of business finance."
Did this guy really just brag about how much money he makes? Lisbon thought, her bad opinion of Jasper Wainwright was quickly become solidified.
"But my brother was able to manipulate me into giving a sizable donation tonight so perhaps all hope isn't lost after all."
"Well…uh on behalf of the CBI, I thank you for your donation," Lisbon said lamely, "speaking of which, I really should get back to my job."
Jasper didn't seem to notice or didn't care about her obvious attempt to leave him. "Will you be at the fundraiser tonight?"
"It's mandatory," she replied and immediately regretted not lying.
"Then save me a dance," he said with another wink before striding towards his brother's office.
"Oh I hope not," she muttered to herself before turning around to head back towards her office only to catch sight of Jane. From the very amused expression on his face, he'd seen at least part of that conversation.
"It appears the boss's brother found something he likes," Jane said with a grin.
"How did you know he was Wainwright's brother?"
"Lisbon, please, remember who you are talking to."
"Oh, right," Lisbon said with a groan. She couldn't hope to hide anything when the Amazing Kreskin was her consultant.
Jane glanced back in the direction where Jasper had walked off and cocked his head. "I suppose it would be a bit too scandalous for you to date the boss's brother."
She rolled her eyes. "That's assuming I was the least bit interested in him."
"Good choice, you could do better."
"Thanks for the encouragement," she said dryly. Lisbon was never comfortable talking about her love life with Jane, even if he was only person whose own romantic life was even more pathetic than hers. "While you keep pondering my options, I'll go and get the case closed doughnuts."
Jane grinned again. "Yes the case is closed, who did we arrest again?"
She narrowed her eyes at him and his arrogance before finally admitting. "Fine, you were right. Sanford was innocent."
"I have no idea why you doubt me."
"Well don't get too excited, I'm not convinced about the Squirm Factor." Jane smiled at the joke and she couldn't help but return it. He did have one beautiful smile.
"You might want to be careful Lisbon, you hang out here much longer and your new suitor might show back up." He told her slyly. His smile grew, "at least he has good taste." Jane winked at her before leaving her alone.
She blushed a little, shaking her head with a grin. Jane might be arrogant like Jasper Wainwright but there was a difference. Jane also had certain charm that made her hate and love him all at the same time.
"If I get a note from the doctor saying I have some contagious disease, do you think the director will excuse me from this thing tonight?" Rigsby asked. Grace grinned at him in amusement.
"Rigsby, it won't be so bad," she said.
"Yes it will," Cho said.
She glowered at him and shook her head. "You don't know. It could be fun."
"Pretentious people, cheap liquor and terrible music," Jane said, "I can hardly wait."
Rigsby chuckled and slapped Jane's hand as he walked past his desk towards the worn, leather couch.
"You know, the three of you are just determined to hate it," Grace said, "You don't want to admit that getting dressed up and going to a party isn't all that bad."
"We're men, Van Pelt," Cho said, "We want beer not champagne."
"Sorry, no beer," Lisbon called out at the entrance to the bullpen, "But I brought doughnuts."
She held up the pink cardboard box, their traditional treat whenever they closed a case. "No pizza today." Lisbon opened the top of the box and let Grace take one doughnut. "Not with the gala tonight."
"Pizza might have been a better idea," Jane said, "It might be the only decent meal we'll get tonight."
She glared at him. "Maybe you don't deserve a doughnut then."
Jane smiled and shrugged. "If you want to be spiteful, then that is your doing. I know you are just bitter because I solved the case."
Lisbon's green eyes flashed and she picked up the only weapon she had available, a soft, sugary doughnut. She aimed for his arrogant grin, but Jane was too quick. He caught the doughnut in one hand and grinned as he took a bite. It was childish, but she couldn't help but stick her tongue out at him. That only made Jane laugh.
"Isn't there an age limit to this fundraiser?" Cho quipped.
Lisbon gave him a pointed glare, but Cho's face was as impassive as ever. Finally she cracked a smile and abandoned the doughnut box on Cho's desk for him and Rigsby to help themselves. She took one and leaned up against Jane's small, and rarely used desk.
"All right, I know all of us would much rather be doing something else than going to the fundraiser tonight, but tough luck. If I have to go, all of you do."
"You're a merciful leader," Jane said.
Lisbon shot him another look and then picked up a pen and hurled it at him. This time it bounced on his chest harmlessly, but making him chuckle again. "So I expect all of you to be there at eight o'clock sharp. Hopefully none of you forgot to rent a tux."
Every eye turned to Rigsby, the only one not grinning. "One time," he said, "I forgot once. And how was I supposed to know it was prom season?"
"At least you did cut quite a figure in that powder blue monstrosity," Jane teased.
The memory of Rigsby wearing a tux reminiscent of the 80's brought on laughter by all except one who hung his head in shame.
"And Jane," she turned to look at him, "Please try and remember that this fundraiser counts for sixty percent of the Bureau's budget so don't embarrass me."
Jane frowned at the offense. "When have I embarrassed you?" She raised her hand to begin her long list of humiliation caused by him, but he cut her off. "At the fundraiser."
"Give it time," she said.
Capitol Plaza was lit up for the event, as ostentatious as ever. At the base of the steps, Lisbon could hear the music from the band already. She hoped her heels wouldn't be too much of a hindrance on the dance floor, no way could she avoid it unless she hid in the bathroom all night.
She had to gather up the skirt of the satin gown so she wouldn't trip on her way up the steps. Lisbon wasn't very keen on dressing up, but she had fallen in love with the dress when she'd seen it. It was a floor length, green dress with a sweetheart neckline and straps that crossed into an X on her back. It was embellished with a starburst crystal design on the side and matching beads on the straps. Her neighbor's sixteen year old son had let out a whistle when she'd left her apartment that night so she assumed that the dress was a successful choice.
Lisbon rifled through the little silver clutch and pulled out her invitation when she reached the top. The security guard read the slip and crossed out her name on his list. "Welcome, Agent Lisbon."
"Thank you," she said.
She slipped the invitation back into her purse. There was a decorative mirror set up against the wall that revealed one strand of hair had slipped from her simple chignon. She quickly tucked it back into place. When she turned back around to head towards the ballroom, she was stopped short by Officer Ryckart.
"Agent Lisbon," he said, taking a slow sweep of her with his eyes, "I'm surprised, you actually look like a woman tonight."
Lisbon gave him a fake smile. "And you almost look like a man."
She relished his shocked expression and watch it turn into an indignant smolder. It really must hurt to be slammed by a woman.
But Lisbon wasn't one to gloat for long. She brushed past him without another word and slipped into the open double doors. The room was filled with a wide arrays of colors. The men all wore black and white tuxedoes. A few even took it to the extreme and wore white evening gloves, now that was clearly trying to make a statement. Ladies wore every hue of the rainbow and topped it all off with sparkling diamonds, rubies, emeralds other expensive rare gems. If one of them were wearing the Hope Diamond around her neck, Lisbon wouldn't have been surprised. Lisbon was definitely underdressed in that area, the only jewelry she wore was her mother's cross, she wasn't about to trade that for any other gemstone.
Lisbon scanned the crowd for her team. Rigsby was talking with Van Pelt off to the side of the dance floor. With his recent break up, she wondered if perhaps he was hoping to rekindle their past romance. She couldn't decide whether that was a good idea or not, the rules still stood firm. But at the same time, both of them had been through a lot and she knew Van Pelt still regretted her decision.
Cho was talking to one of the narcotics unit guys. She could only begin to guess what they were discussing, maybe the latest office pool.
She spied the familiar blonde curls of Patrick Jane, standing alone and talking to no one. Well she would have to remedy that. She pushed her way through the throng of people, careful to come up from behind him.
"Excuse me, but may I have a glass of champagne?" Jane turned around at her question and she put on an apologetic smile. "Oh I'm sorry, I thought you were a waiter."
Jane grinned and tugged at the lapels of his jacket. "Nicely played, unfortunately I can't make a similar remark." He swept her with his blue-green eyes. "You look stunning, Lisbon."
"I don't look like a green bean?"
"No," he said with a gentle shake of his head, "You're like a jewel."
She couldn't up but blush at the compliment, running her hands over the satin to keep them from sweating. A real waiter passed by and she snagged two glasses of champagne, handing one over to Jane. She took a healthy sip in order to regain her control. Jane had a way of tipping her off balance in different ways. Compliments like this were the most dangerous.
"All right," she said, "Tell me what I need to know?"
"Come on, I know that within five minutes of walking in here you figured out who I'll have to talk to, who I should avoid, the best hiding spots and whether or not the food is good."
Jane smiled and shook his head. "I have no idea what you are talking about." He took a small sip of champagne before adding, "And the canapés are excellent."
"That's all you're going to give me?"
"You should be able to use your finely tuned investigative skills to figure out the rest on your own."
"Hm." She took another sip from her glass. "I'll remember this the next time you need a favor from me."
"Perhaps I'll have to cash in on the many times I've helped you." He winked at her.
Lisbon was immune to his boyish charm, at least at that moment. She gave him a pointed look and then said, "I'm going to mingle now."
"Beware the sharks," he said and saluted her with his glass as she walked away.
She couldn't stop from smiling from his words as she searched the crowd for one of the many people she would have to be nice to tonight. Lisbon had just spotted Wainwright who was off to the side in a deep discussion with a couple of obviously wealthy men, when she was almost bowled over.
The man who'd bumped into her was on the short side, his dark eyes were squinting, the man should have worn his glasses. He didn't look comfortable in his tux either. "I'm sorry," he told her quickly, he was actually blushing a little.
"It's quite all right," she assured him and continued on her way but she did feel his eyes on her. Perhaps the dress was a big hit after all.
Wainwright spotted her as soon as she walked by and he smiled. "Agent Lisbon, you clean up well."
"I could say the same for you," she returned the compliment.
"Bradford," Wainwright addressed the man to this left. "This is Special Agent Teresa Lisbon, she is the leader for the Major Crimes Unit. Her team just happens to have the highest solve rate in the state."
Lisbon blushed a little but was proud of her team's accomplishments. "My team works very hard at what they do," she explained humbly.
Bradford nodded. "I understand your team works with a consultant, he used to be a psychic."
"Patrick Jane is a valuable asset to the CBI," Lisbon told him, very glad that Jane wasn't here to listen to her sing his praises. "His insight is one of the reasons why my team is able to do what they do."
"Well keep up the good work. We all feel safer knowing that the state is in your capable hands."
"Thank you," she told him with a smile before turning her attention back to Wainwright. "Well I'll leave you gentlemen to your conversation, just wanted to let my boss know I was here." She told him slyly before walking away.
Now that was done. Hopefully the conversation with Bertram would be brief and relatively pain free. Lisbon was debating over whether or not she should test out the hors d'oeuvres or get the talk with Bertram over with, when she spotted a less than friendly face.
Kyle Hathaway had his notebook handy and was all ready searching for quotes. She was hoping to find one of the hiding places that Jane had told her to find on her own but he caught her eye before she could turn around. Damn.
"Agent Lisbon," he greeted her, his voice was low and filled with ice. "I'm still hoping for a quote from you."
"I thought we discussed this earlier," she replied.
"Yes but a quote from the head of the Major Crimes Unit would certainly complete my article."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "And perhaps be twisted around to suit your own needs."
"I would only write your words."
Lisbon nodded. "I'm sure you would. But you'll have to excuse me, there are people I like that I have to talk to."
Hathaway's lips frowned and his eyes flashed with anger before he stormed away. She knew why he was angry; he'd lost his chance at procuring some form of revenge. The last time he'd tried to get her to pay the astronomical price for damages to his camera, of course he'd had no case since his camera was damaged after illegally trespassing onto a crime scene.
Well she hadn't met a reporter she'd like yet. It was fitting that one absolutely despised her.
The hours of the gala passed eventually. Lisbon had managed to speak civilly to Bertram and avoid his attempts to show her off like a prized poodle, he knew better than to try and use Jane. She'd accepted Cho's offer to dance, poor man must have been feeling sentimental or he just liked her dress. Rigsby had managed to tear himself away from Van Pelt to ask her for a dance too though Lisbon did regret accepting that offer, she doubted her toes would ever recover.
Now she was just whittling the hours away before it was a polite time to go home and change into her sweats with some mint chocolate ice cream.
It was time to find the one person who she could share her misery with for the next hour or so. She looked around for Jane's handsome face but spotted Cole Sanford before she could find her friend. Lisbon did her best to smile at him. "Hello Sanford, it's good to see you here," she said politely.
He nodded simply. "I've been hoping to run into you all night, Agent Lisbon."
That surprised her. "Really?"
"I wanted to give you a chance to apologize."
"For your actions towards me this morning," He explained. "I understand that you made an arrest and, lo and behold, it was not me. I thought you would like this opportunity to express your regret for treating me like a suspect."
Lisbon could not believe what she was hearing. This man was ridiculous! "I am sorry to disappoint you, Sanford," she told him tightly, "but I will not apologize for doing my job. You were a viable suspect, I treated you as such and then I eliminated you. End of story."
"You don't think you were a little too harsh?"
"Again it was part of my job. You should know that better than anyone," she replied. "I think we are done here."
"Oh no we are—."
"Agent Lisbon." Her name was spoken in a lazy drawl that sounded slightly inebriated. Lisbon turned around to see Jasper Wainwright giving her a wide grin. He looked her up and down and then back up, settling his eyes ever so briefly on her neckline. Apparently in addition to charm, he also lacked subtlety.
"Hello, Mr. Wainwright," she said diplomatically glancing behind her to see that Sanford had somehow disappeared into the crowd. Well at least she had that to thank Jasper for.
"Call me Jasper."
"Oh I don't know—."
"I insist," He cut in, "Mr. Wainwright is my father and I would prefer not to resemble him too much."
"Well then, Jasper. I would like to thank you again for your contribution," she said. She wanted a way out of this conversation but was trying to avoid a way of being rude.
"Has anyone told you that you look absolutely ravishing this evening?" He asked stepping up very closely to her. She could smell the alcohol on his breath and saw his bloodshot eyes. Apparently he had drunk more than she'd thought.
Jasper managed to focus his gaze on her eyes. "Tell me, did you bring your boyfriend with you this evening?"
"Um no I uh…"
He smiled giddily. "So you're single."
"Yes, but I—."
"Have you danced this evening?" Before she could reply he'd grabbed her arm and taken two steps onto the dance floor. "I'll have you know that unlike my brother, I know how to dance."
"That's great," Lisbon said and resigned her self to endure one dance with Jasper Wainwright. The last thing she wanted to do was make a scene and draw attention to her self. Better to just grin and bear it.
"I find you a fascinating woman," Jasper whispered hotly against her ear.
"Oh I'm sure I'm not different than anyone else," she mumbled and twisted as far away from him as she could.
The dance wasn't too slow so she wasn't forced to be too close to him but Jasper was insisting on minimum space between them. The man was insufferable and stank of expensive scotch. Lisbon was wondering how her boss could have such an insufferable brother when Jasper managed to catch her by surprise again.
The hand that had been resting on her waist now drifted south to cup her satin covered ass.
Quickly Lisbon reached around to grab his hand in a tight grip, none to gently either. "I'm sorry Mr. Wainwright but I really don't know you well enough for that."
"Can't you have a little fun, Teresa?"
"It's Agent Lisbon," she corrected quickly.
She was never happier for a song to end and she did her best to steer Jasper off of the dance floor. However, Jasper did not share her desire. He remained on the edge of the floor and kept a hand on her arm. "One more dance."
"I don't think so."
"One more won't hurt."
"No thank you."
He tugged on her arm. "You know you want to."
"I really don't."
Before he could fully pull her onto the floor, Lisbon was surprised to see a liberal amount of champagne splash all over his tux. Jane immediately stepped forward and began brushing at the man's coat. "I'm so sorry, how very clumsy at me." But he flashed a smile at Lisbon.
Had he done that on purpose?
Jasper blinked a couple of times at the man before shaking his head. "It's all right." His words came out slightly slurred.
"Still, you'll want to clean that up." Jane insisted, "The restroom is just that way." He pointed to the alcove across the room.
"Yeah," Jasper said a little unsteadily. "I guess I should."
Lisbon breathed a sigh of relief as he walked away and then gave Jane the biggest smile she had. "Thank you. Really, thank you. He was a little too friendly and more than a little drunk."
"Oh I'm sure you could have handled him on your own."
"Yes but I'd prefer not having to punch my boss's brother at the biggest fundraiser of the year," she reminded with him another smile. "Thanks for intervening."
Jane grinned. "Just another favor you'll owe me."
"Actually I think it cancels out you not helping me earlier this evening," Lisbon said, "so I guess that makes us even."
"I suppose we could leave it at that," Jane agreed.
Lisbon smiled and then let out a sigh. "Ugh this night has just been a complete mess of horrible people and fake smiles. Jasper Wainwright's drunken misadventure really set it straight."
"While his inebriation was all himself, I do have to pity the man," Jane stated. When she gave him a confused look he just grinned. "Any man would act like a complete fool around you tonight."
"Does that mean you're a fool?"
"No, but I'm not just any man am I?" he shot back.
"Nope, you're Patrick Jane, bane of my existence."
He laughed and shook his head. Lisbon was really enjoying their playful banter and took the time to appreciate how beautiful Jane looked when he laughed. His eyes were filled with a certain light that made his already enchanting features even more attractive. Now in a tux with the soft light of the ballroom on him, the man was an Adonis really.
The band switched to a much slower song and the mood on the dance floor shifted dramatically. Now couples held each other close, swaying softly to the music. This was the time where the romantically involved snuck in a soft kiss. Lisbon watched calmly from the edge of the floor, she was used to being the wallflower.
Then Jane gently nudged her with his shoulder, she met his eyes and he was smiling a sweet smile. "What?" Lisbon asked. He still smiled and sort of gestured towards the dance floor, that's when she knew exactly what he was offering. "Oh no, no we couldn't."
"Why not? You accepted Cho's offer and you let Rigsby step on your toes," Jane pointed out, "It's not like I haven't danced with you before."
That was true. She'd danced with him at that high school reunion but this time it was different. She didn't know exactly why. Maybe it was because she was wearing a fancy dress that had no back to it. But she had danced with the rest of her team when they had offered out of courtesy, if she refused Jane…well that would be sending a message. She didn't know exactly what kind of message but she didn't want to risk it.
"You won't embarrass me will you?"
Jane grinned, "No more than Rigsby's pathetic attempt at dancing."
Even she had to smile at that. Rigsby was a sweetheart with two left feet. "All right," she said and accepted his hand to be led out onto the floor.
It was a slow dance so Lisbon found herself pressed up against Jane; her small hand clasped in his much larger one. She felt his other hand up against the small of her back, his fingertips touching her bare skin. She had her hand resting on the back of his shoulder; her head was cradled up against his cheek. Lisbon could smell the musky scent of his skin mingled with a hint of his cologne. Jane smelled like warmth and comfort, like a soft blanket that still held onto the scent of its owner.
She'd been this close to him before. They had hugged once or twice; they had danced just like this. Except now there was bare skin, just a little, but enough to make her fully aware that if she just turned her head a fraction to the side, she could touch the warm skin of his neck with her lips.
Suddenly Lisbon was feeling very hot, a glow that spread through her body that was still pressed up against Jane. Her heart was slamming against her ribs so fast, so hard. There was palpable electricity in the moment as they continued to slowly sway to the music.
Her heart. He could certainly feel it in the erratic pulse at her wrist and of course the tattoo under her breast that was pressed up against him. Jane must know how this was affecting her.
That thought made her tense immediately. She wanted to flee and must have moved back just a bit. Jane's grip on her back and her hand tightened, not much, but enough so she knew that he wouldn't release her yet.
But now her cheek was against his. She could feel the smooth skin of his cheek; he must have shaved before coming. The scent of his cologne was slightly stronger now; she took in a breath and let the smell of Jane wash over her. Lisbon closed her eyes and indulged herself in the moment, just allowed herself to become lost in the scent and feel of Patrick Jane.
The song ended and they both stopped. She opened her eyes again and took a step back, only to become lost in Jane's blue-green gaze.
Their eyes were locked on one another and for a moment Lisbon couldn't think of anything else, her mind was completely blank as she stared at him. What was this? She wanted to ask him what he felt, what this meant. But she couldn't do that. She wasn't going to risk their friendship seeking answers that would probably only hurt them both.
Lisbon recovered her wits slowly. She stepped away from Jane, removing her hand from his and shook her head. "I'm uh…I'm going to go get some air," she told him.
Jane nodded and didn't stop her from leaving. She was grateful for that. The best thing for them to do was to forget about that electric charged moment. And, of course, never make the mistake of dancing with each other ever again.
She found the side exit and walked out into the warm night air. Lisbon took a few deep breaths, walking towards one of the large windows that framed the ballroom. She looked inside to see the crush of people, talking, drinking, and of course, dancing. Rigsby was in the corner, chatting with the secretary from the organized crime unit, probably hoping to score a phone number. Poor Van Pelt was trapped by two of the men from forensics; she looked a little desperate. And Cho was standing with Jane now. Jane was holding onto a champagne flute, taking a liberal sip from it. He nodded his head to something that Cho said; he was recovering from their dance obviously. That was good.
If only she could pretend to be that normal.
Her emotions swirled around inside of her. Jane was a mess; actually he was a hell of a lot more than that, beyond any adjective or description. It would be easier if he wasn't so damn attractive but no, God had blessed him with both hands. How many times had she caught herself in the fantasy of running her fingers through his wild blonde curls, of imagining his large skilled hands touching her skin? Somehow she knew it would be amazing, everything with Jane was.
But those were just fantasies created by attraction and unresolved tension. The line had been drawn a long time ago; flirting was as far as they had ever gone towards crossing that line. She'd made the decision never to go over it and she'd never regretted that choice…except times like these made her want to break those rules. It was stupid, Jane didn't want to go that way either, that much was clear. It was better to just keep on like they have been; friends and co-workers that never acknowledged the underlying pull between them. Jane was already moving past it, she should do the same immediately.
She would go in there and cheerfully say her goodbyes to her team. She'd been at the ball long enough, no need to stay in these torture devices known as shoes any longer. Lisbon took another look at her friends through the window, just to see them.
Then a firm strong hand gripped the side of her head and slammed her up against the brick wall.
Pain exploded her senses and Lisbon was completely stunned. She fell to the ground in a heap of dark green satin as she tried to recover her breath and her thoughts. Before she could react the same strong hand wrapped around her waist, pinning her arms to her side, the other pulling on her hair as he dragged her away from the window.
She began to struggle, trying to loosen the firm grip he had around her. She needed to get her hands free so she could do some damage of her own. He paused for a moment in his steps and Lisbon used that opportunity to gain some footing. She braced her legs so that maybe she could get one of her arms free or stand up high enough so she could slam her head back into his face. He let go of her hair suddenly and she raised her head to do just that. But then a solid blow crushed her stomach and chest.
Lisbon felt the air leave her lungs in a painful gasp. She heaved but couldn't seem to get any air in to scream, it came out more like a strangled choke. Her attacker pulled her roughly again and she tried to kick, her left shoe slipped from her foot as he continued to drag her away.
He tossed her roughly onto the concrete; her head fell against the sidewalk with a hard smack. She used the momentum to roll herself onto her stomach so she could get up but he threw himself on top of her, his weight pressing her down on the ground, keeping her from drawing a full breath.
Lisbon kicked him as hard as she could; she tried for the groin but only managed to get to his stomach. He let out a low grunt but didn't loosen his grip her. Instead he slammed her head down onto the ground again.
She cried out in pain and momentarily stopped struggling. That gave him time to roughly turn her over and straddle her hips. Lisbon felt the rush of panic as she realized that she was in possibly the worst position to be in. She tried to claw at his arms and face but he didn't seem fazed by it. Instead he punched her across the face. He gripped her head in both of his hands and slammed her head down once more.
This time Lisbon felt a heavy fog drift over her; the edges of her mind began to go completely blank. She was vaguely aware that she was still struggling but her movements were weak, she didn't know what she was doing anymore.
But she knew what was happening.
She opened her mouth to scream but he stuffed one fist in her mouth while his other hand began to rip at her dress.
Jane was ready to leave. He'd done his civic duty, shaken hands, drank a little champagne and sampled the hors d'oeuvres. He'd managed to avoid Bertram for the entire evening and he hadn't upset any major donors so Lisbon would be happy, all in all it had been a very successful evening for him.
But he was tired of the fake smiles, the idle chitchat and the terrible crush of people. The rest of the team looked as uncomfortable as he felt so he was ready to say goodbye and get home. Jane walked towards his friends who were now standing in a group, Grace was nursing one more glass of champagne and the two men kept glancing towards the exit.
He smiled when he reached them. "Well the food is good, the music was okay but I'm ready to call it a night."
"You're leaving?" Rigsby asked even though it was superfluous.
Jane just grinned, "I want to go before the bar runs out of alcohol and mob rule descends."
Grace pulled him in for a shallow hug. "I'll see you tomorrow, Jane." She grinned a little, "but I'll miss the tux."
"Well you wear that tomorrow and I'll keep the tux," he teased. She was lovely wearing a muted red evening gown but it certainly wasn't appropriate attire for catching criminals.
He shook hands with Rigsby and Cho, exchanging pleasant goodbyes but his eyes searched the room for their absent leader. "Have you seen Lisbon?"
All three of them shook their heads. "She might have left already," Rigsby offered. But that excuse didn't sit well with Jane, Lisbon wouldn't have left before saying goodbye. Even if she was avoiding him because of their dance earlier, she'd have wanted to say something to the rest of her team before she left.
Jane continued to look around for Lisbon but he wasn't worried, she might still be out getting fresh air or had run to the restroom. He would find her in the crowd eventually.
He was gone.
Lisbon didn't know when he'd left. One moment she could still feel his hot breath on face and the next she was completely alone. How long had she been lying on the ground? It didn't matter. He was gone now.
She rolled over onto her stomach ready to brace herself up with her hands but she couldn't seem to move her left wrist. Instead she groped for the wall and used it to pull herself up to her feet slowly.
The parking lot was nearby. She needed to get to her car. She could go home and clean herself up. All she needed to do was get to her car.
She took a step towards the lot but her knees buckled and she had to brace herself against the wall again. Something was wrong with her, but it couldn't be bad, she didn't feel any pain. Actually she didn't feel much of anything at the moment.
Lisbon took another slow step and this time kept her footing.
Her car, she needed it. She needed to get home.
Jane stepped outside of the ballroom, grateful to finally be away from the crowd of people. It was late and no doubt in another hour or so they would all be trickling out to leave. He hadn't been able to find Lisbon to say goodbye but it wasn't a big deal, he'd see her tomorrow. It was important to reestablish the boundaries of their friendship; he certainly didn't want anything weird to come between them.
He stepped into the parking lot ready to head in the direction of his car and fumbled for his keys. But he stopped when he saw a drop of blood on the sidewalk.
It was fresh.
He looked up to see a smear of blood on the car that was parked by it; the distinct impression of a handprint was obvious on the glass. Someone had been bleeding a lot and had used the car for support. The blood hadn't dried yet; they were close.
Jane followed the direction of the trail, more drops of blood a few feet away from the car. There was more blood on the hood of another car that Jane noticed as he turned down the aisle.
That was when he saw the woman stumbling next to a BMW. She was missing a shoe and her evening dress was torn. Jane hurried his steps to get closer to her. When he did his heart plummeted and he felt sick to his stomach.
Lisbon was still trying to find her car but she couldn't remember where she had left it. Everything looked the same now, a blurry haze of streetlights and darkness. But she needed to get home. Everything would be better when she got home.
She heard the footsteps and immediately thought that he was back. She didn't stop walking, but she knew that he would win again. She didn't have the strength to fight now; she was just so tired.
Jane's voice had a strange echo to her ears. This was bad; she didn't want him to see her like this. She needed to get home and clean up.
But she turned towards his voice.
The painful pit in Jane's stomach tightened to an agonizing knot when Lisbon finally turned to face him.
One strap of her dress was broken and dangled down her chest. Her left arm hung limp at her side but was covered with dark angry bruises. Her face was covered with streaks of blood and damp hair, her right eye was swollen and no doubt would close completely soon. Her hair had fallen from her clip and was now a mess of tangles and drying blood. But her eyes were large and vacant; he'd never seen her look so empty.
"Jane…I…I need to find…my car," she barely whispered, stepping again unsteadily. She looked around searching.
Jane was standing completely stunned, his mouth open in a silent gasp of horror. She didn't like seeing him like this, she didn't like that he was looking at her like that. "Home," she told him, "I just need…to go…"
She stepped again but lost her footing. She tried to grab onto the nearby car to catch herself. Instead she fell into a warm embrace. Jane cradled her in his arms, hooking one arm beneath her knees. She was floating away and she didn't know where. She didn't care.
Her head was resting against his neck and she smelled him again. The same wonderful scent of cologne and his skin, he smelled good, he smelled like comfort.
Jane carried her away from the parking lot and back to the sidewalk. He needed to get her out of the street. Once that was accomplished, he knelt down but kept her cradled against him. He fumbled around in his pocket with one hand until he found his cell phone. He punched in 911 and waited impatiently for the operator to answer. As soon as they did Jane said, "My friend was attacked, I need an ambulance at Capitol Plaza."
He didn't wait to hear anything else, he didn't care; he just hung up his phone.
"Oh my God!" Jane turned his head to see Brenda Shettrick gaping at them. She would be spreading the word quickly about what she was seeing no doubt, he could use that to his advantage.
"Get security," He told her harshly.
"Is that Agent Lisbon?"
"Just get security," Jane cut in her, his voice was stern and short, "And tell her team." She just continued to stare at Lisbon who was battered and quiet in his arms. "Now!"
That finally spurred Brenda into action. She half ran back towards the building. In a moment there would be a flood of people coming out to see what had happened, the ambulance would come and alert everyone.
But right now they were alone.
Lisbon held onto him, her hand clutching around his neck with a weak but firm grip. A small whimper escaped her lips. "Jane?"
He pulled her closer against him and whispered softly into her hair. "Shhhh, it's okay. Everything will be okay."
It was a lie.
Nothing would be okay again.
A/N: Next chapter explores the fall out to the attack. Expect a lot more pain and angst from our characters and things will only go downhill from there. Chin up, they'll find their light again, but the journey is where the drama is.
Chapter 2 is about 95% of the way written so you can be guaranteed that an update will come soon but reviews always make us type faster so hit that little button and tell us what you think.