LITTLE RED LIES Part 1
Author: G. Waldo
Rating: Case-fic'. Some angst. humour, and of course Jane-pain. No smut.
Characters: Jane/Lisbon friendship; Jane/Cho
Summary: A lawyer must pull out all the stops to save Jane from going to jail. (NOT a re-hash of the episode with the similar theme). Some of the things that occurred in Red Matter and its sequel will be explored here.
Disclaimer: Not mine though I wish he was.
"Joshua Anthony Neil." The young Sac' PD officer read the name off the dead man's driver's license. He handed the wallet with the photo ID to his partner. "That's the dead guy." He said. "Nothing else in his wallet. Looks like he's been here a while."
His partner peered into the garbage can where his fellow officer stood knee-deep in food garbage and a dead guy. The combined reek was enough to keep the seagulls away.
The officer with his feet buried in the stomach-turning scene held his nose. "This bin hasn't been emptied in weeks." He remarked, his voice nasal, his fingers pinching his nostrils shut.
His partner, standing on the jutting edge of the bin, his toes balanced on the square metal tubes where the truck's hooks would go to lift the five hundred pound green container, shrugged. "This restaurant's been closed for a month. Maybe they didn't pay their bill?"
"The killer was probably counting on this guy being hauled away the next day." The corpse's skin was grey and mottled. There were three gun-shot wounds to the center of his chest. "He died quick."
"Well, they counted wrong. And the poignant word is died. In other words, dead or die – leave it to the medical guys to reason why. Who called it in anyway?"
"Anonymous." The officer in the bin frowned, continuously irritated at his partner's penchant for off-the-cuff poetry.
"Oh - anonymous. I like anonymous. Less complicated."
"Oh – what do we have here?" The first officer reached beneath the body and withdrew a long barrelled pistol by its trigger guard, dangling it from his latex-gloved index finger. "Do you see a gun in my hand, Mitch? Because I sure see a gun."
"What did I tell ya'?" His partner said, his own uniform unsoiled, "less complicated. Gotta' love less complicated."
"We need to speak to Agent Patrick Jane."
Lisbon's morning coffee and report reading was interrupted by the appearance of the two plain-clothes detectives at her office door. One was a tall red head in need of a haircut and the other shorter man, a balding brunette. Both wore sober expressions particular to their kind and both were dressed in grey suits and raincoats that silently announced We are the Law.
Lisbon stood, extending her hand courteously. "I'm Agent Lisbon. Patrick Jane is a consultant here. What's the problem?"
The taller of the two men, the red-head, shook her hand. "I'm Detective Lanslow and this is Detective Semeniuk."
Lisbon acknowledged both their names with a quick nod. "And why do you need to speak to Jane?"
"You're his supervisor?"
"Yes." More sharply "What's this about?"
Lanslow continued. "We should speak in private."
Lisbon's mood was swiftly shifting from polite cooperation to exasperation. "And you can certainly do that once you've answered my question."
Detective Semeniuk answered. "It's about a dead body, Agent Lisbon."
Lisbon felt a familiar gnawing fear awaken in her belly. What dead body? stood on the tip of her tongue but it was probably simpler to just find Jane.
Jane was in the kitchen, drinking one of his noxious teas and chatting with Rigsby who was nursing coffee from a massive metal travel mug.
Jane looked up with mild curiosity at the two men who were accompanying Lisbon. "Morning Lisbon."
She jerked an uncertain thumb back at the two men standing behind her. "These detectives need to speak with you in my office. Now please."
Jane took up his tea cup, still nearly full, bringing it with him. He threw Rigsby slightly raised eyebrows - his only comment.
Lisbon ushered them all inside and closed the door. "Sit down." She said to Jane gesturing to the chair in front of her desk. The detectives remained standing.
Lisbon looked at the men standing ominously on either side of Jane. Jane ignored them and sipped his tea.
Detective Lanslow took the floor. "Mister Jane, do you know a man named Joshua Anthony Neil?"
Jane shook his head. "No, should I?"
"Well your gun was found beneath his dead body yesterday afternoon."
Lisbon's guts heaved. She sat back in her chair, her muscles suddenly drained of strength. It couldn't be true. Jane didn't own a gun. He hated guns. "There must be some mistake." Lisbon said to the detectives, resisting the urge to cross her fingers or beg God to put a halt to this before it got another foothold.
Although his face betrayed no stray emotion other than surprise, Jane's complexion had blanched white. It not only meant he had been taken by surprise by the news but that it had put a small fear into him and it was all Lisbon needed to recognise that somewhere here there was a truth Jane knew but she didn't. And it forced her to ask the question "Do you...own a gun, Jane?"
Jane met her eyes. "Yes."
Lisbon would have preferred a lie. For once Jane had spoken the bald truth to her and why did it have to be about something like this? Goddamn his quest for revenge and all the secrecy that went with it. Goddamn him for putting himself in this spot, and her. Still ever hopeful "But you didn't shoot anyone."
He shook his head once. "No. I have not shot anyone."
It sounded purely truthful, so no random murder on his conscience then. At least she knew him that well enough.
"Anyone since Timothy Carter you mean?" Semeniuk corrected.
Jane nodded. "Exactly."
Detective Lanslow said "The gun in question was originally registered to Jack Coleman, so we're assuming you either borrowed or purchased it from him."
Jane drained his tea cup, setting the china-wear on the corner of Lisbon's desk. "Neither. It was a gift."
"Wait a second." Lisbon said. "Why do you think it was Jane who shot this man Joshua?"
Detective Semeniuk explained dryly. "Because the gun was found with Mister Jane's finger-prints on it, under the body of the dead man - a man who's been dead for weeks, actually."
Semeniuk looked down at Jane. "Coleman gave you the gun?"
"Yes." Jane said.
"You? Another guy bent on revenge, someone who has been hunting down the killer who murdered his family now owns that gun. Joshua Neil was a petty thug with a rap sheet five feet long for robbery and assault. And we're supposed to believe you didn't pull the trigger?"
Jane kept his eyes on his tea cup. "Well, he could have chosen a more socially constructive career I suppose but that's no reason for me to kill him. So, no, I did not shoot him."
"This really is very interesting." Semeniuk looked at Lisbon. "Wouldn't you say this is interesting, Agent Lisbon?"
Lisbon couldn't even form a response, except to ask Jane. "Jane, just tell me you didn't kill this man."
Jane answered her straight. "I'm not lying. I didn't kill him."
He seemed sincere. He looked it even. But then Jane was a master at that stuff – looking one way and thinking another – and then doing another. Conning people was Jane's expertise.
Detective Lanslow explained to Lisbon "Well, the evidence says otherwise. Talking to you in private was just a courtesy in case Mister Jane here came up with a plausible explanation but based on what we've heard, we have no choice but to arrest Mister Jane on suspicion of murder."
Jane stood and they placed the cuffs on him. With a faint hope Lisbon asked "Jane, when did he give you the gun? Mister Coleman - when was that?"
"Over a year ago."
Lisbon looked down at her desk and the forgotten paperwork. "I see." She looked up at him again, trying to see what was behind his eyes. "Do you have a lawyer?"
Jane shook his head. "I don't need one. I haven't done anything."
Semeniuk opened the door to lead his suspect out.
"Well, get one, Jane." Lisbon insisted. "In fact I'll call one for you."
Jane did not respond as he was led away. Lisbon looked into the bullpen where Rigsby, Van Pelt, Cho and a half dozen other agents watched the show. Lisbon waved her team in to her office. It was time for some brain-storming.
Gale Selby, attorney-at-law, had been told much about her newest client, Patrick Jane, from his CBI agent friend, and then had spent a considerable time reading much more about him on her own via the internet and, as it turned out, his case-file relating to the Red John serial killer murders, two of the victims having been Jane's wife and daughter. All of it together had made for some very interesting reading to say the least. The Red John aspect, Jane's career paths before, and since, the loss of his family would have made a best-selling John Grisham novel.
As for Jane's character itself...
Selby did not like making judgements without first getting to know the person who she would be defending. But she expected friction and maybe even some fireworks from Patrick Jane. Everything she had thus far learned about him pointed in that direction.
From behind the barred window, Patrick Jane looked nothing like she had expected. Remarkably in all her readings about the man she had not once come across his photo. Teresa Lisbon had described it as camera modest but Selby had seen through that excuse at once. It was not fear of the camera so much as the terror of reprisal. Once bitten, twice shy.
From a purely aesthetic perspective, no cheap ID photo would have done him justice. Patrick Jane appeared as one might expect a former performer to appear and did not possess a face that bespoke a career in law enforcement. But what he did possess in the way of looks was for certain extremely attractive. Easy on the eyes - a real looker, possessing an evenly featured face with tragic eyes who was probably chatted up and flirted with everywhere he went. Simply put, Patrick Jane was gorgeous.
Though his curly blonde, barely tamed hair and easy smile gave one an immediate impression of youth, it was when one got up close that the lines the years had begun to etch around his eyes became evident. One then also noticed that the corners of his mouth turned south as though stuck in time, a perpetual frozen grief. And although at first appearance he exuded an easy confidence, there existed undercurrents of sadness and uncertainty, as though Jane understood that he was due certain punishments in this life and had just been soundly reminded of that, and that one of those life-notices had just greeted him fist to face.
Jane was still wearing his street clothes, though that description did not quite fit. Under his expensive suit jacket Patrick Jane wore a neatly pressed, matching vest. It gave him an air of the Las Vegas show-man, or the image of a man ready to attend a formal function somewhere. Selby wondered if the choice in clothing was habitual or deliberately chosen to render just the effect she had supposed. Either way, there was no doubt that he looked good in it.
Jane was supposed to be one of the best crime solvers in Sacramento County. If it were true, Selby wondered how he had managed to get himself mixed up in a murder charge complete with smoking gun. These were things she hoped to find out over the next few weeks.
Gale Selby pulled out the metal chair the Remand Center guard had provided for her so she could speak to her client across the table. On his side, Jane's hands were cuffed to an attached ring on the edge of the table. He had circles under his eyes and she wondered if he had slept. Being arrested did tend to interfere with shut-eye.
She opened her file folder, turning to a yellow pad for note-taking. "Hello Patrick. My name is Gale Selby, I'm your attorney."
He nodded once. It was a bare dip of his head. "Lisbon said you'd be along."
Lisbon. That was his supervisor at the CBI, the woman she had spoken to at length and who had thoroughly warned her that, among other things, Patrick Jane might not be cooperative. That he was highly intelligent but argumentative to the very last. He was also stubborn, cocky, needlessly reckless when it came to his own safety, an accomplished liar and con artist, and too sure of himself even when it was in his worst interest to be so. Plus about a dozen other cautions had been offered as to his unbendable nature. Unsurprisingly then, Jane already sounded as though he doubted her abilities.
"Yes." Selby said. "And as you are a man with a problem, I am here to get you out of that problem."
"They have a circumstantial case and I have alibis. I work almost every day..."
"But not every day." She reminded him.
He admitted to the table top. "No."
"And you have a prior trial on a similar charge – making this an even more difficult case. That coupled with your disregard for the law, etc, etc - yes, I am aware of these things."
"I don't need your services. I'll conduct my own defence."
Selby expected as much. "I've read the Tim Carter trial transcripts. You defended yourself, fairly competently, and you won – but it was a lucky break." She stared at him, both her expression and words blunt. "That's all, Patrick, just a lucky break."
"I disagree. Don't bother trying to talk me into this. I'll do fine on my own."
"Really? Did you at least know enough to keep your mouth shut when the locals questioned you without your lawyer – me – in the room? When the detectives patted you on the back and told you not to worry? That they were there to help because they such good guys who are only looking out for you and to just tell them everything you know?"
Jane looked away, sighing.
"Right." Selby dropped her pen and closed the folder. She leaned back and crossed her arms, regarding him for a moment. "Patrick, let me say this plainly. I spent fifteen years as a prosecuting attorney and the only reason you won the Tim Carter case is because the assistant DA at the time who tried you was a bum, and not just a bum but an overworked bum. You won because he was a lousy lawyer and because you managed to just squeak the jury's sympathy over to your corner.
"And just for your information, I'm a con artist too only my name-tag says Attorney, not Patrick Jane. If you intend to go into that courtroom and defend yourself, I promise you a twenty year sentence of cosy showers and playing house-wife for guys a whole lot bigger and smellier than you."
Selby sighed, pursing her lips at the man that was turning out to be everything his boss said he was. "Or you can listen to what I have to say and maybe, just maybe when this is all over, you can go back to your job and your colleagues and your super-hero quest for revenge."
Patrick Jane jiggled his cuffs a little. Evidently they were giving him some discomfort.
Selby called through the door. "Can we get these cuffs off him? He's not going anywhere."
The guard turned a key in the door and swung it open. He entered and twisted another key in the cuffs. They fell off.
"Thank you." Selby said as the guard retreated, locking the door again behind him.
Jane subconsciously massaged his wrists, all the while looking at the wall. For all his talents as to the con' and his legendary mind-tricks, at the present time he was not performing or playing her. Gone was the smarmy self-assurance she'd glimpsed upon arriving. His emotions were stark naked. Right now Patrick Jane was scared.
"What makes you think you can help me at all?" He asked. "They found my finger prints on the gun."
"With their case as strong as it appears your only defence is not guilty by reason of temporary insanity."
His face changed immediately. Suddenly he was deeply insulted and angry. "I'm not insane."
"If you say so, but we need to convince a jury otherwise, and this is going to trial by the way - you've been charged, Patrick. Your arraignment is tomorrow and temp' insanity is your only hope for a defence."
He was sceptical. "When was the last time anyone even tried that defence?"
"Years and years but that doesn't make it any less plausible. You got a better idea?"
"Find out who really killed him."
"And who would that be? Any ideas?"
Strangely Jane, the man of many ideas, was silent.
"No? No ideas? They found a scraping of your blood on the underside of his belt buckle – did you know that? So tell me again that you never met this guy, Mister Jane while remembering that I'm not an idiot. And those detectives who arrested you, they're not idiots either. We all know you're lying, but it's not going to be about lies or truth, it's about who will run the best con in the court room."
"I didn't kill him."
"So you do know him." Selby read between the lines. She wondered how much of that she was going to have to do with this client. "We'll come back to that later. In the meantime I have an idea - how about we ask the judge, who is also not an idiot, for a year or so to investigate this phantom other shooter ? His Honour's probably a nice guy too - what do you think he'll say?"
Jane looked away to the wall again. Selby wondered what he saw there that didn't exist on the table between them. "So - not guilty by reason of insanity then. We're agreed?"
Jane nodded but Selby expected he only did so because he as yet saw no other options. It didn't mean he wasn't going to look for them, or solicit his team to look for him. Selby also had an intuitive feeling that on the choice of defence Jane would fight her every step of the way.
"Good. I'll see you at the arraignment." Selby said and stood.
Selby spotted two members of Jane's CBI colleagues sitting in the audience, the young woman and the shorter dark-haired fellow: Van Pelt and Cho. Rumour had it that Jane and Cho were involved as more than colleagues. She would need to discuss the implications of that with Jane prior to trial. Her lawyer opponent would be sure to bring it up and try to twist it into a character flaw.
Jane's supervisor, Lisbon, was absent. No doubt she was busy trying to put out the fire with her own boss over Jane's unexpected arrest. The media would be having a field day - CBI Consultant Patrick Jane Arrested for the Second Time on a Charge of Murder! A shit-storm for any in the CBI with political aspirations.
The judge listened as both sides presented their evidence and arguments for and against. He set the trial for two months hence, banged his gavel and called for whoever was next on the docket.
Selby watched Cho follow Jane from the court room with his eyes. Jane would be spending the night in jail until he came through with his bail of two million.
Patrick Jane was the former psychic wonder boy and current wonder consultant and his reputations preceded him. From what she'd managed to gather from Lisbon and his personal history, money just seemed to effortlessly appear in his hands. Selby was curious how Jane would manage to raise that amount. Hopefully through legal means, or close to it. Somehow, though, she didn't doubt he would manage it.
Selby spent the next day getting subpoenas ready for her numerous witnesses and experts. There were dozens of testimonies to go over with each of them, and of course, with Jane. She also had to prepare each of them for the questions the prosecution might ask and how to respond without hanging themselves or her client. And how to handle the stress of being in the stand and badgered by her opponent. The former Assistant DA may have been a bum, but the new one - Henry Williams was not. Williams would use every trick at his disposal to reduce Jane in the jury's eyes to a cold-blooded killer who shot Joshua Neil down with no twinge of morals or conscience.
Her job was to convince them otherwise. Her job was to convince them that Patrick Jane, although he did shoot Joshua, did so while out of his mind. While insane. She had her work cut out for her.
Part 2 soon