(A/N): I know, I know, another multichapter… I really have to stop right now! But I just can't…
This might start off sounding a little random, but I promise it will all eventually make sense. Hopefully.
This one is set a year after the death of Red John, which I figured could happen nine years after Jane had started working for the CBI. Jane has disappeared, naturally, and Lisbon tries to move on. This could be random, but I still really want to know what you think and if I should continue or not. You don't know how much reviews mean to me…
It's my birthday, so please can you give me the best birthday present in the world? Can you spare the time for a review of my writing?
Hmm… Warnings… Potential violence, mentions of abuse, possible swearing… That's it, I think.
I do not own the mentalist.
"I was doing it again, wasn't I?"
"Doing a threat assessment of your surroundings when you really don't need to anymore? Yes, you were."
"Sorry. I don't mean to."
"It's fine. You don't mean to do it anyway and I know that. The fact that you're trying so hard not to do so says a lot to me in the first place."
Lisbon held the small girl's hand tighter in comfort and a bit of a warning as they walked into the park together. Lisbon was wearing her usual pant and blazer combination, this time in a light grey that was flattering to her frame, with a dark purple blouse. The girl was wearing black jeans and a plain white shirt and grubby sneakers. People watched them openly as they walked down the street, mainly because Lisbon was still on-duty most of the time and therefore still had her badge and gun on her whilst doing the most ordinary of things.
The girl looked around once more cautiously before relaxing almost imperceptibly as she concluded no immediate threats in her surroundings. Lisbon smiled gently down at her. She was the victim in the latest case they had worked on, finding the girl just in time thanks to Lisbon channelling the skills Jane would have used if he would have been there.
Her parents had been killed seven years previous and new evidence had shown up and caught the deputy AG's attention, causing Lisbon's team to be forced to look closer into the whereabouts of their only daughter, Lauren, who had been three at the time of their deaths. When it became apparent that Lauren had simply disappeared without a trace after her parents' murder, they knew something else was happening that they didn't know about.
It turned out that the murderer had taken the little girl because she had seen what had happened to her parents and could most likely identify him, but he couldn't kill a child in cold blood. Adults, no problem, but he couldn't do something like that to a child. Instead, she had been consistently beaten and physically abused for the past seven years, and forced to take on 'jobs' for her captor, involving quite a few death threats and wealthy politicians. No-one suspected a small child of doing anything wrong, especially someone who looked as innocent and young as Lauren did.
When they had finally found her, she was chained up in the basement of the murderer's house, fresh bruises covering every inch of her body. She had flinched away from everyone's touch, including the paramedics', and Lisbon had been the one to see sense in that particular situation and had knelt in front of the terrified child instead of going straight for touching her and told her it was all going to be okay now, before asking the girl's permission to touch her so she could get the chains off and get her to stand up on her own two feet.
In that moment, Lauren had felt a kind of instant bond, a symbol of trust and understanding between herself and the dark haired agent knelt before her that she had never felt before, and therefore she immediately agreed to the dark haired woman's request. Everyone had been amazed that Lauren didn't flinch away from Lisbon's touch like she did for everyone else, and as soon as the chains were gone, Lauren flung her arms straight around Lisbon's neck and clung there for hours, only allowing Lisbon to comfort her to everyone's shock, including her own.
The higher-ups in the CBI had tried to get Lauren into a good foster home where she would be looked after properly, but the people running it had brought the girl back the next day, telling the higher-ups that they couldn't look after her and she wouldn't go anywhere near them at all, telling them all she just wanted to go back to her friend 'Resa' forever. After that, the higher-ups had had no choice but to allow Lisbon to look after the child, and tomorrow was finally the day Lisbon would sign the adoption papers for Lauren, making her officially Lisbon's daughter. Lisbon loved Lauren, and she only wanted what was best for the little girl. If staying with her was what was best for her, then Lisbon was only too happy to provide that for her. Lauren had no other family, and loved Lisbon like a mother. She wanted nothing more than to stay by this state agent's side forever.
Lisbon turned to Lauren kindly. "Do you want to go play on the slide Lauren?" He asked the girl gently. The girl looked up with a large smile on her face and nodded eagerly, causing Lisbon to laugh at the enthusiasm the girl was showing about something so simple. "Well, go on then," She told the girl as she sat on a bench with a sigh of relief as her feet finally got to rest for a while. "I'll be right here if you need me."
"Okay, Resa, thank you," Lauren yelled over her shoulder as she left her backpack on the floor near Lisbon and ran straight for the large slide. Lisbon picked up the backpack and placed it beside her on the bench with a small smile as she watched the dark haired, playful child having the most fun she had had in years without having to constantly look over her shoulder just in case.
"You have a beautiful daughter," A male voice said from the other side of the long bench. Lisbon frowned as she continued to watch Lauren playing happily. She recognised that voice, but she wasn't sure where from at that moment in time.
"Yes, she is," Lisbon answered absentmindedly, never taking her eyes off Lauren even for a moment.
"She must be what, ten?"
"Why didn't you tell me, Reese?"
Lisbon turned in utter shock to the owner of the voice. Tall, dark hair, dark eyes that seemed to glare at her viciously. There was only one person that could be.
"Hello, James," Lisbon sighed, staring at her younger brother sat on the other end of the bench, watching her back with a stubborn glare that was so similar to her own it was uncanny.
"You could have told me when you were pregnant Reese," James told her with a frown, watching Lauren closely. "And you need to feed her up a bit too. She's far too skinny. Reminds me of you at that age."
"What?" Lisbon asked him immediately, thoroughly shocked that her own brother would think so little of her. "Wait, you think I wouldn't tell you if I was pregnant and planned to keep it?"
"Obviously, you didn't."
Before Lisbon could answer and deny his accusation, Lauren came rushing over, throwing herself into Lisbon's lap, hugging her tightly with her skinny arms.
"What's wrong sweetie?" Lisbon asked Lauren, concerned immediately. Lauren held her arm out for Lisbon to look at. There was a small gash on her arm, most likely made from tripping or catching herself on something. Lisbon nodded, understanding her behaviour immediately. Lauren had learnt the hard way that crying got you nowhere, but she still needed comfort in times like this. Lisbon pulled a cream and a bandage out of Lauren's purple backpack and sorted the cut out for her.
"Thank you Resa!" Lauren said, bouncy and lively once again now that her cut had been taken care of. "Can I ask you something please?"
"Sure Lauren, what is it?"
"Is the bad man going to jail?"
"What bad man Lauren?"
"The bad man who took me."
"Oh, that bad man. Yes, sweetie, he's going to jail for a very long time and he'll never bother you again."
"Will I go to jail?"
"No Lauren. Why would you think that?"
"Well, he's going to jail for being a bad man, but I've been bad too, so why aren't I going to jail?"
Lisbon sighed. How could she explain all the differences in the law to a ten-year-old? In the end she decided to make it simple but honest. She wouldn't ever lie to Lauren. "Sweetie, you did what you had to do to stay alive. Everyone understands that. The bad man who took you didn't have to do it. He didn't have to hurt you or make you do all those bad things. He's very bad, but you're not Lauren."
"Oh," Lauren thought it through for a bit, still perched on Lisbon's knees. "And you won't leave me, will you Resa?"
"No Lauren, I won't. That, I can promise."
"Excuse me," James interrupted them suddenly. "I'm confused. What's going on here?"
"James, this is Lauren. Lauren, this is my brother James." Lisbon introduced quickly. Lauren looked at James curiously.
"Hi. Can I call you Uncle James?"
"Uh, yeah sure kiddo. So, how long have you been around?"
"Around a week." Lauren answered promptly. "And I don't ever have to go back. I can stay with Resa forever!"
"Are you sure you want to stay forever sweetheart?" Lisbon asked her gently. Lauren looked back at her.
"Well, okay then. You can stay with me forever."
James was about to interrupt again when his own daughter, also ten years old, came rushing up to him. She had the same dark hair all Lisbons had, but hers was cut into a short bob, which emphasised her icy blue eyes, something she got from her mother's genes. She was slightly taller than Lauren, though still petite, and looked much more healthy and well-fed.
"Daddy, daddy, guess what? There's an ice-cream van and I really, really want one! Please daddy?" James sighed.
"No, Sophie, I can't get you one. Your mother will get mad at me if I let you have an ice cream before your lunch." James told her. He clearly wanted to let her have an ice cream, but feared his wife's reaction to it if he did. Lisbon decided to intervene then.
"Hey, I'm supposed to be the aunt that spoils all the kids rotten, right?" Lisbon said, and James nodded warily. "Well, I was going to get Lauren an ice cream anyway, so why don't I get two instead? One for Lauren and one for Sophie. Your wife can't be mad at you then. She can be mad at me instead. I don't care."
"Are you sure Reese?" Lisbon nodded, lifting Lauren to her hip as she stood up. Lauren wrapped her arms around Lisbon's neck as she walked over to the van.
"How did you know I wanted an ice cream?" She whispered in Lisbon's ear. She smiled into Lauren's messy curls. It was no wonder James thought that Lauren was actually hers. She had the same unruly curls and petite frame. The only difference was the eyes of the pair. Lisbon's were bright forest green but Lauren's were a mixture of brown and green swirled together.
"You've been asking for one nonstop for the past two days. I figured you might as well have one."
"Who's Sophie, Resa?"
"My niece. Uncle James' only daughter. She'll be your cousin after I sign all those papers tomorrow."
Lisbon placed her short order with the man who ran the ice cream van and he got two ice creams for her promptly. She gave one immediately to Lauren, who ate it like there was no tomorrow or someone would take it from her if she hesitated in eating it, and walked casually back over to the bench where James and Sophie were waiting for her.
She handed the other ice cream she had bought to Sophie, who grabbed it happily from her Aunt, and James mouthed thanks to her. Lisbon nodded, also knowing at the same time she was going to get ice cream in her hair from Lauren, who wouldn't let go of her grip round Lisbon's neck, but wouldn't give up the ice cream either. She grinned. It was worth getting ice cream all in her hair if she could be a proper mum to Lauren. She was worth it all.
Just then, a curvy blonde woman came striding up in a short and formfitting red dress and matching heels. Lisbon gritted her teeth together in agitation. She loved James lots, but seriously disagreed with his choice of wife. However, it was his choice that he had made and she would put up with his wife for James' and Sophie's sakes. However, that didn't mean she liked the other woman at all, but it did mean she would put up with her for as long as James did.
"James," She greeted her husband coolly, and they all knew she had seen the ice cream covered Sophie, munching away happily. "What did I tell you about giving Sophie ice cream before lunch?"
"It was me actually," Lisbon butted in instantly, saving James a pointless argument as his wife turned to glare at her instead.
"Teresa," She greeted coldly.
"Chantelle," Lisbon greeted back in exactly the same way. Lauren tightened her grip on Lisbon instinctively. She knew her Resa was a good judge of character, and if she didn't like this Chantelle woman then neither did she.
Chantelle only then noticed the girl clinging tightly to her sister-in-law. "And who, may I ask, is this?"
"This is Lauren, Reese's daughter," James told his wife, trying to get more attention off his sister and back onto him. He didn't really love Chantelle anymore, but stayed with her for Sophie's sake. His sister had warned him at the time about Chantelle, and he hadn't listened to her. Now he had to deal with the consequences of what he had done. He was just happy Reese was still speaking to him and his family, though he had to ignore the hatred bubbling between his wife and sister. He knew that when the time came, he would rather back up his sister than he would his wife.
"Teresa, dear. Her name is Teresa, not Reese. You make it sound as though you have three brothers instead of two brothers and an older sister. And this is Teresa's daughter?"
"You obviously don't know what I was like growing up then, Chantelle." Lisbon said, fake politeness dripping from her tone of voice. "The nickname Reese is well earned, believe me. And yes, this is my daughter Lauren. Lauren, say hi to Aunt Chantelle."
"Hello, Aunt Chantelle," Lauren said in a blank voice, causing Lisbon to have to hide a grin. She obviously didn't like Chantelle either. "Resa, can we go see Uncle Cho, Uncle Wayne and Aunt Grace now? I haven't seen them in ages."
"You saw them yesterday, Lauren."
"Yes, but that's absolutely ages ago. Please?"
"Sure sweetie, of course we can."
"Hang on," Chantelle interrupted suddenly as the pair stood up to go. "You let her call you Resa?"
"Yes," Lisbon said, looking confused as she put Lauren down to the ground so she could collect her new purple backpack Lisbon had bought for her yesterday.
"Why don't you make her call you mum?"
"I can call you mum if you want me to Resa," Lauren said as she grabbed Lisbon's hand with her own small slender hand.
"Which do you prefer, Lauren?"
"Then Resa it is!"
"Is it time to go now?"
"Yep. Come on, let's get back to the office and my team, and later we have to find you a school that you have to go to soon."
"Do we have to?"
Lauren and Lisbon waved their goodbyes to James, Chantelle and Sophie. There was no need for a massive goodbye between them all as they had all been invited round to Tommy's house later, and all the brothers would be in attendance for a change. Tommy had told Lisbon that as she didn't have any other family, she didn't have to bring anyone else, though she could if she absolutely wanted to. Lisbon had asked Lauren what she would prefer to do earlier that day, and Lauren had wanted to meet her new mum's family, so Lisbon was taking Lauren with her for a short while. If it got too late then Lisbon would call it a night and take Lauren home. She didn't just have to think about herself anymore, not that she did usually anyway. She had a little girl to take care of now, and Lisbon planned to take it all very seriously.
As they were about to leave the park, Lisbon thought she saw a flash of blonde hair and a three piece suit. She quickly turned to see who it was, but there was no-one matching that description in sight. She shook her head and continued walking with Lauren out of the park and up the street towards the CBI offices. She thought she'd seen someone she recognised from a while back, but she figured it was impossible.
Patrick Jane had disappeared over a year ago and no-one had seen him since.
TBC…? Maybe, I dunno yet. Please press the button below and it takes you to a magical planet! It doesn't really; it's actually the review button, but still… Pretty please?