Authors note: So I had a rough draft of this story for my second Crimson Hat instalment but then it grew and grew... into something far from what I originally intended. I fully expect to update my others stories soon but this one wouldn't die.

Disclaimer: All I own is my bad grammar and a twisted mind...

XX Spoilers for the season four finale XX and beware of cursing.


Patrick Jane squeezed his eyes shut tight; trying desperately to focus on his movements rather than the images his mind was interposing over his current companion. He was drunk, she was marginally less so. Her soft raven mane was not as silky as he had hoped it would be.

Figures she had ruined hair for him too. The smell of vanilla and cherries was growing with the heat of their joined bodies; his stomach heaved at the sickly sweet stench. He risked a glance again and was met with jade green in place of the chocolate brown he was expecting.

The green depths he was envisioning kept replaying the last moment he had gazed into them, a flash of shock, hurt and actual physical pain frozen in time. He tried to ignore it again moving his stare to the hollow of her neck, however crisp white marred the latte tan that was supposed to be there.

His subconscious was messing with him, forging new guilt with every second he was doing this. She started to squirm beneath him enjoying the sensations their coupled bodies were creating. He clamped down on his plea to stop before it erupted out his mouth. He forced a shudder pretending to finish too.

"That was amazing Patrick" she said stroking his cheek.

That simple gesture gave him more comfort that the last 45minutes had. He rolled off the woman, discreetly removing the evidence of his deception. He felt desperate and unsure of everything but one thing, his first time with anyone since his wife was not supposed to be like this, here in some strange room with a woman he barely knew.

"Yes it was" he lied smoothly, "and thank you again Lorelie for letting me stay here" he added.

He waited until she drifted off before he checked his phone for the 76th time that evening. No news, none, nada. He moved to the bathroom closing the door softly on the sleeping brunette, it was three in the morning she should have contacted him by now. His already sensitive stomach rolled again. He sent out a desperate text. Screw his pride he needed to know.

Are you okay? What happened at the hospital?

It was five long minutes before he got a reply.

I'm fine Jane it was just a scratch

What did you tell them?

Don't worry. I didn't tell them you shot me if that's what you're asking... told them I must have not felt it happen earlier.

And they believed you?

They had no choice Jane

Jane's stomach lurched and he emptied his mostly liquid contents into the bowl. His mind bringing him kicking and screaming back through the past few hours.

Red John had taken another woman here in Vegas and they had been desperately trying to catch him despite Darcy's interference. Damn woman was insufferable well had been, a little voice at the back of his head told him not to think ill of the dead.

They had tracked him out into the desert and into his lair. Darcy had insisted on taking lead, her foolish actions meant she was the first of the four agents to lose their lives.

Lisbon had stayed with the woman in her final moments, while he and done his utmost to try and catch the elusive killer. He just wanted it to end, the chase, his obsession, he wanted it gone forever. Though he was starting to wonder if that thing within him, that crushing hopelessness was even to do with Red John or was he just simply messed up.

After three hours of fruitless searching he had had to admit he was gone again; so close yet so far. While Lisbon and the team had gone to the morgue with the bodies he had left to drink his sorrows and drink he had.

Shot after shot of hard liquor failed to dull his anger and pain; all the while the sweet woman he just had sex with had tried her utmost to cheer him up. She was sweet, naive and yet somehow worldly. She was an enigma but he guessed around here you had to be.

He must have made it back to his room somehow, passing out into a deep slumber. When he finally stirred, he had felt a presence, his body was on high alert. His nose was congested from drink and his eyesight bleary but he stealthily wormed his hand under the other pillow, grasping the cool metal of the gun.

No doubt Red John had snuck in here, thinking he was once again without a weapon after their last meeting. He would finally be free of the man. The shadow was approaching and Jane went on instinct, whipping around and pulling the trigger in one vomit inducing spin. By the flash of the muzzle he realised his mistake as Lisbon slammed backwards.

"Oh my God Lisbon... Lisbon... are you okay?" he screamed, flicking on the light to asses the damage, praying she was okay.

"Jesus Jane what the fuck?" She yelled clutching her arm, moving up to look at him.

He pulled her hand away to inspect her, it didn't look too bad but there was a lot of blood.

"We need to call an ambulance" he pleaded.

"No" she snapped, "With your record you'd be gone for good, jail Jane. I'll drive myself to the hospital; you need to be as far away from me as possible" she stood
up smoothly, alarmingly okay with being shot.

"I'm so sorry... I didn't mean too" he whispered, loud enough for her to hear, but only just.

"My father used to say that Jane right after he hurt one of us ... you smell just like him too." She threw back disgust evident on her face.

He sat down heavily on the bed as she left, his eyes focused on the blood stain on the carpet. He could have killed her, had he been a better shot, less drunk, hesitated a second longer and she would be dead. He couldn't take this, couldn't be here... He grabbed his stuff and headed back to the bar and back to oblivion.


Lisbon had finally been freed by the nurse whose table manner would have been more suited to a mortician. Granted the woman had been frustrated by her weak explanation that she had obviously been shot earlier in the day and not felt it because of adrenaline until she removed her clothes.

Wainwright had backed her up when he finally answered his phone though she knew their astute leader would have questions. It was four hours since Jane had pulled a gun on her and she was still angry but not as much as she should be.

Instead she felt off, she had come close to death again and she didn't seem to care. Lately she had the strangest feeling that she was looking down on herself, disconnected, disjointed, a mere observer in her own life.

So she went looking for Jane to apologise for her comments earlier, she had been mad as hell and in serious pain and had lashed out. He was probably wallowing. The smell of whisky was so pungent on his breath that it had taken her right back to fourteen, her father proving how easily he could snap her bones when he felt like it.

His room was empty and had been vacated in a hurry. Odd hers was too, so he wasn't waiting on her. She moved down to reception inquiring about his possible where-bouts. The concierge directed her to the bar and she groaned in frustration, so much for learning his lesson or giving a rat's ass about her.

It was empty bar one bored bartender. She approached flashing her badge and expressing her concern for her missing colleague. He laughed and crudely explained just where Jane was and who he was with.

Wow he shot her and decided to go off and get laid... His concern for her was overwhelming. Why should she expect anything else, all men had a one track mind...

Lisbon returned to her room. She looked around, unsure of what to do with herself. A wave of despair washed over her, she really was truly alone. She threw a few things around in frustration, kicking the furniture for good measure until the exertion winded her.

She moved into the bathroom. Chugging down some water, she finally met her reflection in the mirror. Her freckles stood out against her ashen face. Dark circles dulled her eyes; a couple of smears of blood were the only colour on her face. She saw it looking back at her, the reason why she so rarely looked in the mirror for long, her fathers face so clear in her own features. She was tired of running.

Finally accepting everything she had been hiding from, feelings, desires and clear misconceptions. She was not in love with Jane, not really, not fully, but he had been her constant companion, her rock.

Misery loved company and she thought they were broken together, now here she was all alone again. Forever standing on the sidelines while everyone around her lived their lives. The pit that had almost consumed her when she was a teenager began to emerge from where she had locked it away years before.

She was useless, her job pointless, she was replaceable to everyone and she just couldn't muster the enthusiasm to care. Her phone buzzed and she opened Jane's texts, he was clearly only concerned about himself.

She was weary of pretending to be someone else so she opened the mini bar that she normally studiously avoided and sucked down every last drop; the comforting buzz blurring her reality, anything to feel something.


The courtesy call pierced her skull and had she not feared her team finding her like this she would have just lay here forever, duvet pulled over her head, wrapped in her own safe dark cocoon away from the world. Instead she forced herself to do all the tricks her father had taught her; to hide the fact she had two hours sleep and was still drunk.

She stumbled downstairs only putting on her mask at the last second as she didn't have the energy to fake it for long.

"Hi boss" Van Pelt chirped, before catching sight of Lisbon's face and the bandage she so carelessly forgot to cover up.

"What happened?" she gasped, drawing the attention of Rigsby and Cho. Jane had yet to appear, no doubt in worse shape than she was. He obviously hadn't been spending too long on a self imposed guilt trip.

Formulating quickly a mix of lies and truth, Lisbon forced a smile and tried to reassure them.

"I was grazed in the desert, not badly and I guess until the adrenaline wore off I didn't feel it. I think I've been shot too often" she joked, grateful for the belief she saw in her teams eyes.

She continued on, "I couldn't sleep with the pain so I may have had a few drinks to help me sleep" she added sheepishly. Both Rigsby and Cho nodded in agreement, both having been there on a few occasion. Van Pelt just looked suspicious, damn inquisitive rookie.

"Oh and I've spoken to Wainwright. I'm taking a week off too, just letting you know" she smiled again glad she said that before Jane got here. He'd ask too many questions and she had no answers... work just seemed like too much of an effort right now.

Lisbon could see Grace about to further question her when the young woman's eyes widened as she focused on something in the distance, Lisbon didn't have to look to know what was causing it or more appropriately who. Instead she inhaled and reinforced her mask, the one Jane had been helping her perfect over the years and turned.

She watched the mere slip of a girl who had served them over the last few days drape herself over their consultant. Jane noticed his audience, his eyes meeting hers, she remained impassive, and then his ever watchful gaze caught sight of her bandage. She could feel the team watching her so she turned back, placing a mirthful look on her face.

"Sooo... do you the CBI'll get a friends and family discount now, because budgetary expenses are high this month" she laughed. Everyone's faces lightened at the joke, but their eyes still watched her. Jane approached having disentangled himself from the young woman.

"Alright everyone ready to go?" she checked.

"I'm gonna travel with Rigsby, if that's okay with you Lisbon, more space to lie down in the back" Jane mumbled. The team looked very interested in this development.

"Of course it is Jane" Lisbon covered her hurt at his further rejection "Cho you're with me." Cho nodded an affirmative, more than happy to ride with their quiet boss.

"Oh and you'll have to drive, I can't... pain meds." Lisbon watched Jane flinch at her words, good, she hadn't taken any but her blood alcohol level was probably through the roof.

"Sure no problem boss, do you need me to drop you at home or do you need to collect anything from the CBI before your week off?" Cho asked.

Jane whipped around, thankfully without a gun this time. "Week off? When did you announce this little development" he questioned. Lisbon was so glad she had thought of it before he showed up so no one could falsely attribute it to Jane's bed mate.

"Before you came down, I'll be deskbound so..." she answered and Jane relaxed and nodded. Unaware of what she had discovered the previous night. They made their way to the cars and as soon as the car started Lisbon feigned sleep, wishing she could just be home already, away from the world.