A/N: Yes, I know. "Red Haze" isn't complete, and here I am starting yet another fic. This idea took hold of me and wouldn't let me go, and after discussing it a little with my friends on Twitter, I got really excited about writing it. It is definitely AU, given that Red John never existed here, and Jane's family is dead, but not by Red John's hand. Instead, you will find a Jane very similar to fugue Jane—still playing psychic, a womanizer, an opportunist. I hope you can wrap your mind around this storyline and follow me once again into the crazy place that is my imagination.
Here goes nothing…
The Taming of the Psychic
"Look, Lisbon," Special Agent Virgil Minelli told her. "He's helped San Francisco PD solve three cold cases just this week, and a murder over at the pier there that had bedeviled our own folks at the San Fran branch. I want you and your team to go to his show tonight. Introduce yourselves. We've hit a dead end in finding little Megan. Every time I meet with her parents"—he shook his head mournfully—"I don't know about you, but I'm ready to try anything."
Lisbon sighed. "But, sir, he claims he's a psychic, for God's sake. I can't believe we've sunk so low that we'd hire some…sideshow act to work in Serious Crimes. No offense, sir, but I never would have believed you'd put stock in such…chicanery."
Her boss shook his head.
"Don't misunderstand me, Agent; of course I know he's not a real psychic. It's an act, a bunch of mumbo jumbo. But he's got good instincts and he's some sort of observational genius, if you believe what the San Fran boys say. It won't hurt to go the show and see what you think of him." His voice turned serious and urgent. "Time is running out for that little girl, Teresa. You know as well as I do that after three days with no breaks in the case or ransom demands, chances are slim we'll even find her alive."
She sighed. "Fine. But you'll take to heart whatever I report?"
"Sure, if I agree with it."
She threw up her hands in resignation, but couldn't resist getting in one last protest. "I can already tell you it will be a complete waste of time."
"Well, at the very least, you'll get a free night of entertainment courtesy of the CBI. Hell," he said reaching for his wallet. "You guys have dinner on me—and hey, get him to go with you however you can. Entice him with a free meal."
Of course Lisbon relented; there really had been no question from either of them. This was her job, and Minelli had never had cause to doubt her loyalty. He opened his top desk drawer and withdrew four tickets, handing them to Lisbon along with his credit card.
She glanced down at the long white slips of thin cardstock. Reaching Out with Patrick Jane: Psychic Medium and Spiritual Advisor. One night only. Row 1, Seat 5.
She shuffled through the other three tickets and looked up at her boss in dismay. "Front row seats?"
"Only the best for Serious Crimes," he said with an amused smirk. "Have fun. And remember, you're doing this for Megan."
Lisbon, Cho, Rigsby and Van Pelt, CBI Agents all, arrived at the Thunder Valley Casino approximately one minute before the house lights in the small amphitheatre went down. The place was packed with mostly women who'd paid the hundred dollar ticket price for the privilege of being duped.
"My cousin Yolanda saw him in Tahoe last spring. She says he's amazing," extolled Van Pelt in an excited whisper. Obviously, the junior agent didn't see things quite the same way Lisbon did.
"Yeah, amazing at reeling in suckers," scoffed Rigsby.
"Oh, hush," replied Van Pelt. "Give him a chance. He hasn't even come out on the stage—"
Suddenly, with the darkening of the room, the huge screen on the stage showed a vast sea of stars, which began to move and elongate, making the audience feel as if they were traveling through space. A deep, soothing voice filled the room, the background music a low, otherworldly hum.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to embark on a journey beyond space, beyond time, to a place where many have gone before, with no hope of ever reaching out to the ones they left behind. Until now. Until this man…"
"Oh, brother," mumbled Lisbon, and beside her, Cho assumed his skeptic's pose—arms across his chest, posture that would make his mother proud, expression completely blank.
"Please join the Thunder Valley Casino in welcoming back…Patrick Jane!"
The room went dark again, momentarily disorienting the audience until the stage lights flashed a calming blue, and a white light shone on center stage. The theatre became deafening with the cries of excited women as the psychic appeared as if by magic in the center of the bright spotlight. His smile rivaled the stage lights in intensity as the star of the show inclined his head to the audience amid thundering applause.
When Teresa Lisbon beheld Patrick Jane for the first time, she could totally understand the attraction. Quite simply, the man was beautiful. His golden blonde hair was brushed back from his face, but the style hadn't totally tamed its natural wave. He looked like an angel in an expensive suit, which was likely why he was so convincing as a medium. He wore a microphone headset like a rock star, and his hands were long and delicate as they pressed together in a semblance of an Indian Namaste.
"Thank you. Thank you all. Welcome." The audience quieted down, eager to hang on the man's every word. "I'm so glad you have joined me tonight. I hope our time together here will prove enlightening for all of us. First, let me ask for complete silence while I try to channel your thoughts and connect them to those who have crossed over…"
Lisbon looked around in shock at the crowd's total compliance. There wasn't a sound as the showman closed his eyes in what looked like deep concentration. Most of the audience was even closing their own eyes right along with him. She glanced at Van Pelt, who seemed enraptured by the handsome psychic, and Rigsby, who had a mild grin on his face as he in turn watched Van Pelt's star-struck reaction. Cho looked positively bored. Lisbon's eyes were drawn helplessly back to the stage. It was hard even for her to deny the man's charisma.
When Jane opened his eyes again, he was looking right at her, and Lisbon felt her heart skip a beat at being caught staring. He grinned at her knowingly, winked one sea green eye, and addressed the rest of his admirers.
"Now…I'm getting something…I'm feeling the letter…K." Hands shot up all over the auditorium, but Jane's attention was drawn back to Lisbon's area, and as the spotlight dimmed and the lights went up on the onlookers, Jane walked to the stairs leading down from the stage. He walked in front of the first row, then stopped, right before Kimball Cho.
"You, sir. Does the letter K mean anything to you?"
Cho shrugged. "It's the eleventh letter in the alphabet."
There were a few chuckles around them. Aww, some were murmuring, a nonbeliever. A stage hand rushed forward to thrust a mic toward Cho's face. He didn't even flinch. Lisbon knew he must be annoyed, but he was on the job, so he would try his best not to be too rude.
Jane smiled. "I understand your skepticism, but I challenge you to work with me a little, and I promise you'll come away from this a changed man."
Cho uncrossed his arms, and nodded. He was game, but he purposefully avoided looking at Rigsby, whose grin rivaled Jane's himself.
"Good," said Jane. "Open your arms to the possibilities. Now, what's your name?"
"Kimball," he replied politely. The crowd gasped.
"Kimball. I had a feeling there was a K involved here. Kimball, I see you are rather a man of mystery to your friends. You hold things back because you're a very private person, am I right?"
"Yeah," said Cho meaningfully.
"I'm thinking it's because you were pushed hard as a child to succeed."
"I'm Korean," he said by way of explanation.
More light laughter. Jane was amused too, but also obviously not used to having a mark compete with him for attention. He grinned along with the crowd, but tried to regain control of the situation.
"Being pushed led you to rebel, didn't it? You hung out with the wrong crowd, and although you eventually got away from it, it led recently to the death of someone you cared deeply for."
There was a brief flash of discomfort in Cho's gaze, which only those who had worked closely with him would recognize. Well, they and a fake psychic.
"His name was…I'm getting a…C…no, a…D…"
Cho was no longer playing, and wouldn't respond.
"David!" Rigsby called out. Cho shot his friend a murderous look, and then his arms folded once more, this time in tightly wound anger.
"Yes," said Jane, as if that confirmed everything he'd been thinking. "Well, David's here with us now, Kimball, and he wants you to know something."
Cho did not respond, but his eyes had narrowed, and beside him, Lisbon could feel the animosity coming off of him in waves.
"He wants you to know he forgives you. He says you should forgive yourself."
Seeing that he wasn't quite getting the emotional catharsis he was hoping for, Jane ramped it up a bit. "David says…it's nice you're taking care of his mother—no, his grandmother- for him."
And there it was. The flicker of emotion Jane had been looking for. He pounced on that like a spider while the audience sighed a collective awww.
"Ladies, and gentlemen, what a truly thoughtful and caring friend Kimball is!" More applause.
"That's sweet, Cho," said Van Pelt sincerely, reaching over Lisbon to touch his arm.
Unbeknownst to Van Pelt, Lisbon sensed Cho was about to do some major pouncing himself. She put a restraining arm in front of him and murmured a cautious, "Cho."
She looked up and caught Patrick Jane's eye, giving him a minor shake of the head. He nodded slightly, thanked Cho, with a smile, and moved on to his next victim. It was truly amazing, Lisbon thought, how they'd just communicated without saying a word—almost…psychically. She pushed the nonsensical thought to the back of her mind. Meanwhile, Cho relaxed beside her—or as close to relaxed as Cho ever became.
After the show, (which, Lisbon had to admit, was quite impressive) she and her team pushed their way through the crush of awe-inspired fans, flashing their badges to security to gain access to the backstage area and Patrick Jane's dressing room. Apparently, they weren't the only ones to receive a free pass. Two ladies (and Lisbon felt that term was a bit of a stretch) in low cut blouses carrying roses stood outside the red door marked private.
Lisbon brushed past them to knock sharply on the door.
"Hey, lady, wait your turn!" grumbled one woman in annoyance.
"Official police business," said Lisbon, showing her badge again. "Scram!"
The women wandered off—though not too far—and Rigsby stifled a grin.
"Mr. Jane, could you open up, please?"
When there was no answer, she knocked again, harder. "Mr. Jane!"
"I thought we were supposed to be trying to get him to join the team, not bully the man," Van Pelt whispered to Rigsby in reaction to Lisbon's brusque treatment of the psychic's door.
Risbsy shrugged, as Lisbon brought up her hand to pound again, just like she had on a murder suspect's door last week. The door was spared a further beating when it opened and one of Jane's backstage groupies stood on the other side. Cho and Rigsby's eyes were immediately drawn from her bright pink lips to her ample bosom, and Lisbon couldn't really blame them. It was practically begging for attention, after all. Lisbon pursed her mouth in distaste.
"We need to speak to Mr. Jane," Lisbon said tightly.
"He's busy," she said. Lisbon looked past her shoulder to see Jane himself, lounging on a red leather couch, his jacket off, tie askew, pink lipstick staining his cheek. He was grinning in intense amusement.
"Mr. Jane," she called into the room. "May we have a moment of your time, please?"
"Ginger—" he began, rising gracefully to his feet.
"Janet," corrected the woman.
"Oops. My bad. Janet, would you mind giving us a minute please?"
"But Patty, you said you'd give me a private reading," Janet pouted.
"And I will. But first, I need to talk to these kind officers of the law. Give us ten minutes, okay?"
He walked over to the door and handed Janet her purse, then ushered her out of the dressing room with an affectionate pat on the ass. Lisbon and her team stepped aside so she could exit, then filed into the room. Jane shut the door and turned back to his guests.
"How'd you know we were law enforcement?" asked Rigsby.
"Oh please," replied Jane. "I mean, look at you. You look like you stepped off the set of The Mod Squad." He eyed the four of them again for a moment, then amended: "Or maybe Scooby Doo—I haven't quite decided."
"Hey!" protested Rigsby.
"We're CBI," said Lisbon, flashing her badge.
He smiled that megawatt smile of his. "Of course you are. I don't recall having done anything worthy of criminal investigation…well, not lately anyway. What's this about?"
"I thought you were a psychic," Cho said, still bitter from his earlier treatment.
"Cho," chided Van Pelt.
"No, it's okay, lovely lady." Van Pelt blushed at the compliment. He looked to Cho. "I'm sorry if I offended you, Kimball. But cut me some slack, will ya? I mean, you were attending my show, after all…"
Cho crossed his arms again, fully aware that it made him seem even more closed off and angry. Jane raised his eyebrows and turned back to Lisbon.
"I fear we've gotten off on the wrong foot," said Jane. "You all seem to know me, but I've only met the stoic Mr. Cho here."
Lisbon sighed, suddenly feeling tired to the marrow of her bones. "I apologize for my abrupt behavior. I'm Agent Teresa Lisbon, and the other two members of my team are Agents Grace Van Pelt and Wayne Rigsby. We're from the Serious Crimes Unit."
Everyone nodded politely.
"That's better," said Jane. "Now, do sit down." There was just enough room on the couch and loveseat for everyone a tight fit. Lisbon found herself sitting directly across from their new team prospect.
"Serious Crimes, eh? Am I a suspect or something?" The prospect seemed to amuse rather than offend him.
"Not at all," said Lisbon. "Actually, our boss, Virgil Minelli, sent us to talk to you about your recent…contributions to the SFPD. We have a case underway that seems to have hit a dead end. It's an urgent matter—a child's life is at stake."
Jane's smile faded and he sat up straighter, his hand absently fiddling with his tie. "A child? With your team involved that probably means a kidnapping."
"Yes," said Lisbon simply.
Jane sat back against the soft leather again, tapping his lower lip with one finger.
"She's only three," said Van Pelt, her amber eyes imploring.
Jane expression softened as he studied Van Pelt's caring, beautiful face. He nodded. "So, you're asking for my input as a psychic then?"
"Yes," replied Lisbon. "I suppose we are."
"And you don't like asking, do you, Agent Lisbon?" His lips quirked as he hit the mark.
"No. I don't believe in psychics. I think you are like modern snake oil salesmen. I have faith we'll find Megan just fine without your help, but we're here because our boss told us to. For the record, he doesn't think you're actually a psychic either, but he's apparently heard good things about your investigative skills from SFPD."
"You're a pretty straight shooter, aren't you, Agent Lisbon," said Jane in admiration.
"In more ways than one," added Cho, the warning in his voice unmistakable.
"Aww, you're quite protective of your boss, aren't you, Kimball?"
"My friends call me Kimball." There was no mistaking the implication of that, either.
Jane chuckled. "I like you, Kimball Cho. Well, thanks, Agent Lisbon, for the offer, but I think I'll pass."
"What?" she said in pure surprise. She could have sworn she was getting to him with the child angle. But then, wasn't his refusal what she'd wanted?
"Please, Mr. Jane," chimed in Van Pelt. "This little girl has been gone three days. God only knows what she's been going through. If we can't find her, maybe your psychic skills can. What if it were your child? Wouldn't you want every last avenue to be—"
"But she's not," Jane interrupted, his charming demeanor changing quickly to ice cold. "I'm sorry, I really don't have the time. I have two more shows tomorrow at other venues, plus a few private sessions."
"Yeah," said Rigsby in barely disguised disgust. "We saw a couple of those hanging outside your dressing room."
Jane ignored him and rose to his feet, walking to the door and opening it pointedly. "Now, if you'll excuse me…"
Lisbon stood too, reaching into her pocket and bringing out her handcuffs.
"Patrick Jane, you're under arrest."
Jane's eyes widened. "What? What for?"
"Two outstanding warrants in Orange County and one in LA."
If Cho was surprised, he didn't show it, but gladly went forward to roughly pull the psychic around so Lisbon could cuff him behind his back.
"Bet you didn't see this one coming, Psychic Man," Cho muttered under his breath.
A/N: Yes, all will be revealed about the warrants and Jane's family soon. I'd love to hear your reaction so far, so please log in and let me know!
I'll have the conclusion of "Red Haze" posted soon!