Welcome to yet another of my random oneshots. These just keep popping into my head at the moment of their own accord, and once again, I bow to the muse.
This is set anytime really from now until the series end.
The rating is T for sexual references and adult themes.
She knows instantly when he strides into her office that he means business. It's early evening, most people are gone and the workday is done but he walks with a purpose she rarely sees, he holds himself stiff and straight, and a shadow seems to have fallen across his sea-green eyes like a veil.
She knows that look. This is obviously about Red John, or something Red John related; it's the only thing that can get him so riled up. Perhaps he's made a breakthrough on that crazy list of his, or Lorelei Martins has crawled her way out of the woodwork, though personally, she's had her fill of the serial killer's mistress for the next few lifetimes.
Every muscle in his body is tensed, as if for a fight, his jaw is set, and there are frown lines forming deep in his forehead. She wonders if he'd mind if she reached out and tried to smooth them away. It seems almost criminal to mar his handsome face in any way.
She skips the preliminaries, because they don't need them. They know each other well enough to know when to get straight to the point.
"I need to talk to you," he says.
There's a soft click, as the lock on the door slides into place. It seems to reverberate around the small office. He reaches into his breast pocket and hands me a folded square of paper.
I believe our game of cat and mouse has gone on long enough. It is time for us to meet.
I will communicate to you my location in due course, but I do request that you come alone. Failure to do so will result in unpleasant consequences for anyone who accompanies you.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
A red smiley-face in blood-red ink grins up from the bottom like a gruesome official seal. The familiar chilling sensation seems to settle deep in her bones and spread throughout her body like a virus.
"When did you get this?"
"Yesterday. Slipped under the door of my motel room."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
She knows the answer to this one before she even finishes asking it. It's the same reason he kept her out of his attic for months, refused to give even the slightest hint of what he was up to. He's used to being a lone wolf, and he thinks by keeping her out of the loop that he's protecting her.
"I'm going to go," he says, his eyes locked on hers. "Promise me you won't come after me."
She stands up abruptly, so that the chair topples to the ground with a crash, and a pile of papers on her desk slides off and scatters.
"How dare you?" To her surprise, the words come out as a deadly whisper, rather then the shriek of utter fury she was expecting. She feels her whole body shaking with anger. "After all I've done for you, after everything we've been through, how can you possibly ask that of me?"
"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. Stay out of it."
He says it with an air of cool detachment in his voice, as though he doesn't really care either way what happens next. And if she were any other person, she'd believe him. But she knows what to look for, so she sees the chink in his armour; the tiny flash of pleading in his eyes. He desperately wants her to listen to him.
"I'm going with you," she says, defiantly. "You're not going to face that psychopath on your own."
They've faced down death more times then she can count, and as far she's concerned, they're either doing this together or not at all.
"You saw the note. If you go, he'll kill you. I refuse to allow that."
This is classic Jane behaviour, making it all about him and what he wants, without a single thought to what she might think. When it comes to Red John he expects to have full executive control over everything, and for her to obediently fall into line and await his instructions. Unfortunately for him however, she is a not a pawn on his chessboard, easily sacrificed, and patiently waiting to go where he sends her.
She's the queen. The most powerful piece on the board. She goes wherever the hell she likes. And if somebody she cares about is going to be in danger, she'll stand with him until the bitter end. If she has to physically throw herself between Jane and Red John she'll do it. She'll take the bullet, or the knife or whatever if it means keeping the one she loves from harm.
It took half a year without him to make her see it, but she knows now that a life without Jane in it is a life she simply has no interest in.
"I said I'm going with you," she repeats. "We've hunted him together. Now let's finish him together."
He'd be a fool not to expect this reaction. In fact, if she'd agreed to the plan right off the bat he would have called for medical assistance, because she obviously would just have suffered a bad bump on the head.
She stands behind her desk, arms folded, staring him down, and the familiarity of it all makes his heart ache.
"This is not up for debate. Don't make this any harder then it has to be, Teresa."
He was hoping the use of her first name might throw her off-kilter a little, but her expression doesn't change one bit.
"If you take one step out of this office, I will hurt you," she threatens. He knows she means it, too. She'd break every bone in his body if she thought it would prevent him walking out that door. He's determined though; it's not going to get to that point. One way or another, this meeting is happening. He's going, and she's not coming, and that's final.
"No you won't." He deliberately goads her, wants to make her mad, make her hate him, because it'll be so much easier for her in the long run, but at the same time, he feels like he should fall to his knees and apologize. This could be the last time he's ever alone with her, and he doesn't want to spend it fighting.
"Are you sure you were a psychic?" she retorts. "Because right now you're really misreading the signals."
"There's no such thing as psychics." It's an automatic response, that falls out of his mouth without him even thinking about it, practically a reflex.
She purses her lips irritably as they once again cover this well-trodden ground. How many times have they had this conversation, or variations of it, over the last ten years?
Deflecting. He almost wants to laugh at the term. He's been trying to deflect her as long as he's known her, swat her away like a fly, but like all those irritating little insects she's unfailingly persistent. She just keeps coming back for more.
"I'm not the one who's making this difficult, Teresa."
She scoffs. "What exactly do you want me to say? That I'm sorry? That I don't mind you walking into almost certain death?"
"I want you to respect my decision, even if you don't like it." He feels himself losing a little of his cool façade as he sees her beautiful green eyes fill with a mixture of anger and sadness. "I supported you with your crusade on Tommy Volker," he reminds her.
"That was completely different," she snaps. "He's a smug, arrogant bastard, and he was always going to slip up eventually. And yes, my career was on the line. But Red John won't be satisfied until he takes your life."
"Well then that makes two of us."
She steps out from behind the desk, taking away the barrier between them.
She doesn't call him that enough, he decides. He loves the way her low voice seems to curl around the two syllables like smoke. And although he's quite familiar with the cop mentality of calling everybody by their last names, a few less 'Jane's' and a few more 'Patrick's' wouldn't hurt.
He makes a mental note to tell her that, if he ever returns.
"I have to go." He reaches for the doorhandle.
With the speed she often displays when chasing down suspects, she somehow manages to get across the room between him and the door, barring it with her body.
"I can't let you do this," she says. "Not alone. Let me call for backup and do this properly. Put the odds in your favour rather than his. I'm not going to stop you from going there, but please, I'm begging you, don't let this be the last thing you ever do."
He can smell that faint hint of cinnamon that he's always associated with her, and her dark hair seems even glossier under the soft glow of her desk lamp.
"I owe it to my girls. They're the only thing that matters."
Her face falls. "And what about me?" she asks softly. "Through ten whole years of friendship, I was the only one who never gave up on you. Don't I matter?"
His fingers brush her cheek, which is warm, and soft.
"Getting out of your life is the best thing I can do for you." She'll hurt for a while, he knows, but the guys will take care of her and then one day she'll be OK. Go out more. Start dating again; maybe even some marry some lucky bastard a little way down the track and have his children.
After today, either he or Red John will be dead, and no matter who is the victim, it eliminates the threat against Lisbon. Without him in the picture to toy with, the serial killer will lose his interest in her.
She can live the life that he's kept her from for the last decade; she'll be happy, and above all, she'll be safe.
His death is a small price to pay for her life.
The moment she steps away from this door, she's lost him forever. She might never see him again, and deep down, she knows there's probably nothing she can say that can stop him from doing what he feels he must do. But she has one more card up her sleeve, one hell of a Hail Mary pass. But it's now or never.
"Would it make a difference if I told you I loved you?"
After carrying it inside her like a dirty little secret for so long, it is wonderful, glorious relief to get it off her chest. She could never speak to anyone about her growing feelings for her consultant, so she buried them deep within herself. It is like cinderblocks have been removed from her shoulders as she realizes that she no longer has to try and conceal the way her heart beats quicker whenever he is near.
"Don't." His face is full of fear, and pain, and reels backward from her as though she's struck him. "Please, stop."
She ignores him.
"I think I always have. Ever since the first day we met."
She remembers that first meeting; the way he shook her hand so nervously, the way he walked with his shoulders hunched like he was trying to block out the world. She'd certainly felt something when she looked into his eyes for the first time; at the time she'd just thought it was pity. And she kept on believing it for all those years.
She's not so blind anymore. She knows that her love for him defines her, affects every facet of her life. It governs the choices she makes, the battles she fights, the way she thinks and feels.
Slowly, it is drowning her. And she doesn't even care.
"You shouldn't do this to yourself Teresa," he says, with a little shake of his head. "I'm not worth it."
She scowls at him involuntarily. Loving him was never a choice. She had no control over the havoc he's wreaked over her heart; all she can do is try to find a way to pick up the pieces.
"You told me once that you loved me too. Did you mean it?"
His eyes find hers again, and seem to harden like stone.
She knows what he's trying to do; hurt her enough so that she'll back off, but he's caused her pain in ways she never even knew existed, and she still forgives him, and still loves him with every fibre of her being.
The slight raise of his eyebrow tells her that he wasn't expecting her to call his bluff. He wanted her to rage at him, or just to collapse into a heap. But so far, she's rebuilt herself every time he's smashed her to pieces, and it'll take more than that to bring her down this time.
"I'm not lying, Teresa," he says. "Though I can understand why it might be easier to believe that."
Cold. Patronizing. The exact opposite of the man that she knows is in there somewhere, and if he'd just stop trying to protect her, she can get through to him. She doesn't give a damn what giving up the Red John chase at the eleventh hour will do to her team, not to mention her career. If he's here with her, Red John can't hurt him, even if she has to build a forcefield around him somehow.
She just shakes her head at him, and sees him draw in a deep breath as he realizes his ploy has failed. She's not abusing him like he wanted and leaving his pathway clear. And she doesn't intend to.
"Please get out of the way." His voice is measured, controlled, even though she can tell he's beginning to get frustrated. His revenge, his life's work is waiting, and time is ticking away.
"Not going to happen."
His hands are twitching. Fleetingly, she wonders if he might hit her. She's not sure what she'd do if he ever did. She's a damn sight stronger than he is, yes, but would that be enough? As she watches, he claps his hands tightly together and she feels like an idiot. She knows Patrick Jane, and he's no pacifist, but he abhors physical confrontation. His weapons are words, and she knows full well that he'd never, ever raise a hand to her.
"So what now?" He's staring at her, as though trying to gauge her mood and temperament, weighing up whether it's worth continuing this discussion. "You can't stand in front of that door forever, you know. Sooner or later, I'm leaving this office, with or without your permission. Accept it now, and things will turn out for the best."
"I'm not going anywhere." She both literally and metaphorically digs her heels in. "If you want me to move, you'll have to make me."
"Damn it, woman!" he suddenly spits, as though his temper has suddenly frayed. "Why do you have to be so stubborn?" He strides toward her until he's almost standing over her. He's never been this close to her before, and she can make out the faintest little lines on his face that the stress of all his chasing and scheming has given to him.
"Pot calling the kettle black," she calmly replies, and he rolls his eyes skyward like he's asking for patience from the God he doesn't believe in. "Look, be as mad at me as you want, but I'm not moving."
"This could all end right now. Why are you doing this?"
"Because I'm in love with you, and I don't want to lose you." Saying that word gets easier every time. But there is another thing that she has always wanted to do. Telling him how she feels clearly isn't enough, but perhaps showing him will be. Slowly, she winds her arms around his neck, and tilts her head so that their lips meet.
All he has to do is be perfectly still. This is Biofeedback 101, training oneself not to respond in any way. If he can make her feel like he's rejecting her, then maybe she'll get it. He counts to twenty in his head, runs through the titles of the complete works of Shakespeare, anything to keep his mind off the assault on his senses, yet it's not working as well as it usually does. He's still noticing things he shouldn't. He notices that her lips are soft, and her kiss is more tentative than he imagined, teasing at him, coaxing him to kiss her back, and God, how he wants to.
She knows he's trying to force himself not to give in. He keeps his mouth firmly closed, refusing to let her in, and she can feel his pulse thrumming under her fingertips. After about twenty seconds, she wonders if she should give up, because it's like kissing an ice sculpture, but something inside her stirs and she just can't.
He owes her this. This is for all those other women he's kissed (or worse,) for all the suspensions, and fear and pain. It's for every day he swaggered into the bullpen looking so deliciously sexy, the casual endearments slipped into conversation, and the two times he almost died and she prayed for him. It's for every single moment over the last ten years when she looked at him and knew that for her, there would never be anyone else.
He doesn't get to play God with her life without any consequence. She will not be denied.
He's moved away from Shakespeare, and is now recalling all the Latin words he knows, in alphabetical order. There are quite a lot of them, he read extensively as a child, but as much as he tries to displace himself from what she is doing, he keeps noticing new things, like how her hands on his neck have started to trace patterns on his skin.
He needs to stop this. He can't hold out forever. He gently tries to jerk his lips away from her, but in so doing feels them ever so slightly part. She doesn't hesitate to press her newfound advantage, and then suddenly, he is lost.
His mouth begins to move in synch with hers; his arms encircle her and draw her into him. He feels her smile against him at the knowledge she has won, and ten years of restraint makes it seem all the sweeter. Tongues dance as they battle each other for control just like they have always done.
As the first throaty moan escapes her, something inside him snaps. This could be his final chance. He could be dead tomorrow. And yes, he knows that out there somewhere Red John is waiting, but if he doesn't have her now, he probably never will, and he's quite willing to postpone his own death in favour of fulfilling his deepest fantasy.
His arms descend to her thighs, those strong little legs that hold so much power, and it's like she instinctively knows what he wants. With a spring, she wraps them around him, until he's holding her off the ground, still kissing her just as fiercely. He walks her backward to her desk. The couch is closer, and probably more comfortable, but he knows from experience that too much movement makes the blinds flutter, and for what he's got in mind, he's pretty sure he doesn't want any witnesses.
She can't pretend she's never imagined this scenario before, mostly late at night in the privacy of her bedroom, but though he kisses just like she always thought he would, and every little sound he makes gets her hotter then she's ever been, she always pictured it happening somewhere a bit more romantic, at least the first time.
Then again, she knows that for years some of their colleagues have suspected them of doing exactly this whenever they disappear into her office and close the door, so in a way, it's kind of fitting.
An hour ago, she was doing paperwork at this desk, and now she's about to have sex on it with her consultant. How times change.
"You really ought to keep this tidier, Lisbon," he says, getting ready to sweep everything off the surface and clear a space for them. In sudden horror, she realizes that their latest closed case file is on there, the one that's waiting to go up to Bertram-that comprises some fifty-odd pages and she hasn't stapled together yet.
"No!" she shrieks, in panic, her voice somewhat rougher than usual due to all the kissing. "Don't! The Bulmer file!"
He pulls away from her a bit, and stares at her incredulously, even as he caresses her lower back under her clothes. "You're kidding me."
"It's late already," she says, defensively. "It's not going to be out of order too."
He eyes her for a moment, trying to decide whether or not she's serious, and apparently concludes that she is. He rolls his eyes, and mutters what sounds like the world 'unbelievable' under his breath, but resumes kissing her again, and carries her around her desk to her computer chair.
Thank God she invested her own money in a good quality chair, instead of sticking with the cut-price crap provided by the CBI, otherwise this would end quickly with a crash, and pain. But it's a sturdy one, and though it groans and squeaks as it takes their combined weight, it holds. Four hundred and fifty dollars well spent.
Now she's on his lap, and she uses her new vantage point to nip playfully at his neck while he starts to peel her jacket from her. She shrugs herself out of it, helping him, and discards it carelessly on the floor, not caring that it's brand new, a birthday gift from Tommy. He'll never know.
She's always liked the way Jane looks in his fancy three-piece suits, but right now, that vest is the most irritating thing in the world, as it's preventing her from touching him the way she wants to. Her fingers fumble at the tiny little buttons and she gives a growl of frustration.
"Patience, dear," he chuckles.
She's sick of being patient, and waiting, always waiting. She wants him now. She kisses him with renewed passion, feeling him cupping her ass through her jeans, and thinking to herself that if she knew that this was where her day was going to end, she might even have worn a skirt today. When she raises her arms above her head, she expects him to pull off her top in one sure, fluid motion-but he doesn't. She can see it in his eyes, he wants to, she knows desire when she sees it, and what good is it going to do, denying them both what they want?
She lets her arms drop back to her sides. "Have I missed something here? Because in my experience, the next bit doesn't really work until at least some of the clothes come off."
"Really?" His eyes twinkle at her. "Is that how it works?"
She folds her arms and looks sternly at him, though she's aware the effect is somewhat diluted by the fact she's straddling him right now. But they really shouldn't be talking at this moment. In fact, if she had her way, they'd be past the getting undressed stage and he'd be taking her to heaven right now. He'd better have a damn good reason why he isn't.
"Believe me, it's not that I don't want to," he says, running a finger up and down her forearm. "But you deserve more than a quickie on your office chair."
"When it comes to you, I've learned to have low expectations," she says, kissing him once more. "And to take what I can get."
His fingers tangle through her hair and she shifts herself slightly on his lap. He lets out a small groan, and she smiles with satisfaction in the knowledge that every moment he's here with her, he's not chasing Red John.
"Please," she whispers. "I love you so much. You don't have to go anywhere. Just stay with me."
There's a flicker of something in his eyes as she tells him how she feels about him for the third time in less than an hour. Some would say it's overkill, but to her it's just making up for all the times she didn't say it before.
But he still hasn't said it back. And that's how she knows his heart and soul is not in this moment; it's still consumed by Red John, and she doesn't want to make love to him for the first time with a serial killer lurking in the background
He threads his fingers through hers, and lightly squeezes.
"So that's what it's like to kiss you. I've always wondered."
He leans forward and captures her lips in another sweet kiss. "I'm sorry for everything I did to you. I'm sorry for anything I ever said that hurt you."
"No, it isn't. And I want you to know that I understand that."
She doesn't like the turn that this conversation has suddenly taken. All these apologies-they sound sincere. Like he's tying up loose ends. Like he's saying…goodbye.
"Stop it," she commands him. "I know what you're doing. And I'm not going to let you."
He sighs. "You're not the boss of me, Teresa. I have to."
Almost angrily, she presses her lips to his again, as if she can somehow just kiss the crazy revenge streak out of him. His hands are sliding down her arms. Then, there's a strange sound, two metallic clicks and a snap.
Suddenly, she can't move. Her left arm is immobilised, even though she tugs. What, is Jane so good at kissing that he causes sensory deprivation now? She tears her mouth from his again, and turns her head to inspect the cause of the strange problem.
Her heart sinks. A silver circle is attached to her left wrist, and another to the filing cabinet just beside them. Handcuffs. He's handcuffed her, with her own cuffs. But how did he even get to them? She always keeps them on her. And then realization dawns like a rising sun. She always keeps them in her back pocket; and she can almost feel his hand on her ass again, slipping into her pocket and stealing them without her even noticing. Automatically, she checks her other pocket for her keys, but finds it's empty; he's lifted those too.
He was planning this all along.
"You son of a bitch."
She immediately gets up off him, even though she misses his body heat almost right away. He is unabashed.
"I'm sorry it had to come to this, but you left me no other choice."
He stands up too, and begins to straighten his clothes, though she notices he can't quite meet her eye.
"I told you I was going alone. I knew you wouldn't listen; but I can't have you there distracting me when I finally meet him, and I won't let you be collateral damage for either him or me. This way, I know you'll be safe."
"You're talking crazy!" she snarls at him. "Let me go this instant and I might not punch you in the face."
"As soon as I'm clear of the building, I'll call Cho." He is deathly calm. "I'll tell him what happened and he'll come get you. You won't be here long; just long enough for me to get far enough away that you can't follow me."
"And then what? I just sit by the phone and wait to hear whether you're going to the morgue or prison?"
"You could do that," he agrees, and then finally catches her eye. "Or you could wash your hands of me completely, and get on with your life, free and happy. If I were you, I know which one I'd choose."
She may not have the large and detailed memory palace that he's got, but she knows she'll never be able to wipe him from her recollection completely. He's involved in too much.
"Please don't blame yourself." He is gentle now. "You did more for me than I could ever have dreamed of. I couldn't have asked for a better partner or a more devoted friend."
She's straining against the cuffs, even though she knows it's no use.
"Well this sure is a swell way to thank me," she snaps.
"Doing it this way keeps you alive," he says, unashamedly. "Ever since Hardy, I knew I'd never let you die for me, and I'm not about to go back on it now."
He reaches to touch her face, but she flinches away from him, for which he can't exactly blame her, but still, he hates that this might be the last memory he ever has of the woman who has given him so much. He still doesn't believe in angels or the like, but he's pretty sure that she'd be closest thing to one, though it still bewilders him how the cold cruel world he's always known also managed to produce something so perfect.
"Don't touch me."
"OK." He withdraws his hand. "I'm going now. Goodbye Teresa."
She screams and shouts for him to return and release her, but he pretends that he can't hear her, even as his heart grows heavier with every step he takes away from her. He pauses by the door, and she falls silent.
"I meant it when I said I loved you. And I'll love you every day for the rest of my life, however long it might be."
It's about time she knew. And it's better late then never.
Just like Timothy Carter, the real Red John is disappointingly average to look at, nondescript to the last degree.
"It's so good to see you," says the man, glancing around the room. "And without Agent Lisbon, no less. I'm impressed. How on earth did you manage to shake off that guardian angel of yours?"
"I clipped her wings." He'll go along with the metaphor, because that is what she is to him, and always will be.
"And I'm sure that hurt you." Mockery simmers through the entire sentence, but he will not rise to it.
"It's for her own good. And now it all comes down to you and me."
"Indeed it does, Patrick. Just as it should be."
Minor cliffhanger here, I admit. But I'm sure all you clever, creative people can come up with many different ideas as to what happens next.
I hope you enjoyed the read.