A dark grey sky is the first thing he sees.

Although it's not really a dark grey, rather black mixed in with the kind of deep rich blue that originates from the night time skies of country sides mixed in with the light of surrounding stars till it becomes a lighter color.

The second thing he see's are the rain drops dotting the surface above him; little sphere's of color, with a thin white halo surrounding them.

The third thing he notices is that he's observing the rain drops instead of having the raindrops fall on him.

That's when his other senses, with the exception of sight, return to him; he can hear the slow rumble of the engine as it gets closer to death, the sound of the damp gravel and mud crunching underneath the tires; which he can smell, by the way.

He slowly comes to realize that he's lying in the second row of a car; most likely a SUV due to the thick black seat he's sprawled across; however the car seems rather old due to material of the seats, and that brings reason to battle with the earlier theory of its brand.

"Have a nice nap, Patrick?" Chirps the voice in front seat; his skin crawls at that tone, it's thick with the underlying brand of sarcasm of someone who's spent their entire life in a big game of cat and mouse, and they've always had the role of the cat, can only receive.

He squirms slightly in the back seat and discovers, without much surprise that his hands are wrapped behind his back with a thick rope, and some of the fibers that have come loose are pressed to the skin of his wrists with dried blood.

His feet are wrapped up too.

He squirms and pushes himself up and glances at the driver's seat; but he can't see anything past the murky glass separating him and the driver.

He opens his mouth to say something, but his tongue is heaving; useless and too large in his mouth.

He knows the driver is watching him and his feeble, pathetic attempts to speak because he clicks his tongue and sighs. "I hope I didn't give you too much sedative. We're on a very limited schedule."

It's those words that force him to realize he probably isn't getting out of this alive (but it isn't much surprise to him(, he swallows the thought and it goes down with a bitter taste. "Where –"His first word comes out chalky; and it climbs out of his throat greedily, and it makes him want to vomit but he swallows that down too. "Where are we going?"

"Oh I can't tell you that quite yet." The driver answers and as he speaks his voice becomes increasing muffled to Jane's ears; the colors on the murky glass begin to blur and he thinks distantly of a crappy water color painting at the results. "Oh, come on Patrick!" The voice continues; irritated and a little sad, "Wakey, Wakey." He chirps; his tone dipping to the under end of the spectrum, becoming irrationally cheerful. "You don't wanna be late for Teresa, do you?"

His head snaps up from where it'd been leaning against his chest; and he swears he can hear the other man smile. "You – leave Lisbon out of this." He snarls, feeling rage bubble up from a well in his heart that never seems to run dry, mixing in with the heightened way his emotions are acting due to whatever drug is throbbing through his veins at the moment.

"Or what?" He can hear the bastard's smile turn to a grin. "Or what, what will you do Patrick? You're a bit tied up at the moment and I'm sure you've accepted the fact that by us meeting again my only intention is that I'm going to kill you. So, you'll be dead, who's gonna stop me from getting to Teresa Lisbon?" He purrs her name; and the need to vomit only grows, making its way into his chest; carving out a home, but he chokes it down and tries to sink the house with a tidal storm of rage.

He instead focuses on the fact of what this person in the front seat has just confirmed what he had already guessed; he's Red John. (Instead of the need to empty the contents in his stomach.)

He's in a car, being driven to an unknown destination by Red John.

The info sinks in slowly; and it drags down turmoil of emotions with it, most of which is simply rage; and the particular sadness so deep that's its only ever been reserved for Lisbon, because he knows that she'll be the one to find him, to find his body; but at least he isn't hopeful that she'll find him in time; to stop him from being killed because being that hopeful would be pointless.

"If you're planning to kill me you must have something big in mind for yourself, and really by the way, why not give me a fair chance?" He asks, wiggling his hands behind his back for empathies, ignoring and trying not to cringe at the dried blood which crackles and the fresh that smears on the base of his hands.

Red John is silent for a few seconds; humming softly before he speaks, cutting the tune to an abrupt halt. "You really needn't worry about me Patrick and I gave you a fair chance when I jumped you and you failed to fight back."

"I fought back!"

Red John sighs, sounding almost like a disappointed parent. "Pathetically too," He pauses and a soft click is heard, then static fills the car; Jane jumps slightly at the noise; but within seconds it clears and music flows through the speakers, clear and crisp. "You don't mind do you?" Red John asks and then he laughs softly to himself, "Of course you don't."

Their conversation all but ends there and Jane would be lying if he said he wasn't trying to get out of his binds, and failing, at the task; judging by the pain shooting up his finger tips from his fingernails and how his binds aren't getting any looser. "Where are we going?" He asks as one song, a soft piano piece, comes to an end.

"It's useless to try and escape, so I'd suggest you stop trying."

"Where are we going?"

"Always so persistent, that's what I loved about you."

"Loved? I'm not dead yet." He says, drawing out the words while a scene plays in the back of his mind; it's really kind of a love, he has for you. Bret Stiles chimes.

He watches through the murky glass as Red John's shoulders slump and hears him sigh, "No you're not sadly, but you soon will be."

"Where are we going?" He asks again and Red John sighs once more; though it comes out a rather aggravated huff rather than a sigh.

"If you can't be patient and you must know, we're going to an airport." He frowns and instantly begins flipping through possibilities in his mind, ignoring the way his thumb's fingernail skids uselessly across the rope and skins across his opposing wrist on his other arm, making a small cut on the skin as it goes, a preview of what it is to come; When Red John speaks he puts a stop to about 50 ideas that had been burning into existence in the storm and chaos his mind was creating. "Don't worry though; we're not getting on a plane. I won't take you from your new home."

He can't help but snort at that, "And that's supposed to be comforting?" He spits out; knowing that he's testing his luck, that he really shouldn't be speaking like that to a serial killer; but this, is the man who killed the first home he ever had in his life and he knows he's going to die, so he hasn't got much to lose.

"Well, yes, think of it this way Patrick. It would be rather hard for Teresa to find you if I took your body out of California." Jane swallows again at those words; rage and sorrow fight for dominant inside his chest, she's truly going to be the one to find his body, and he can't do anything to stop that; he's bringing the end of her world if he's honest with himself (which he's never really been), just like he knew he always would.

"So why are we going to an airport?" He asks; clearly changing the topic, and later cursing himself for his voice cracking mid sentence; and rage wins the battle because of it.

Red John hums softly along to the piano piece playing in the background on the radio. Jane watches as the man smiles, turning and glancing over his shoulder to look at him; he chooses to ignore the way the tempo of his heart increases with the movement. "Well, it seems fitting. You're leaving this word, planes are meant for leaving places, but then again it's not really an airport such as a parking lot for an airport." His smile grows, "I reserved you a spot."

"You've had this planned for a while then?" He asks.

"It's your own personal highway to hell." Red John continues, ignoring his question. "Although, you don't really believe in that stuff do you? Then again neither do I."

"You planned this?" Jane asks, rephrasing his earlier question and ignoring Red John's.

"Oh don't feel bad, Patrick. I didn't put out any signs or singles that I was going to do this to you, so you can relax in the knowledge that there is nothing you could have done to prevent this, it just simply had to happen this way. It's not your fault you didn't see this coming."

Just like I didn't see my family's death coming?

"Now you shouldn't think that way." Red John says; and he ignores it, he's had so many people tell him his family's death was not his fault, that he couldn't predict the actions of a serial killer, and only one person who's said it to him in the past decade has mattered to him, he begun to believe the statement, that maybe it wasn't his fault and the only person who could ever do that is obvious; Teresa Lisbon.

Silence takes hold of their conversation after that, Jane sinks into the seat he's laying on and his thumb rubs across the small incision he managed to make in the rope, he shifts and rubs his thumb across the palm of his right hand; he's almost surprised by the amount of blood that dollops onto the skin as he drags it across.

"And now," Speaks a woman on the radio; Jane jumps at it; a new voice, creating another red stroke across his already irritated skin (which is so close to matching the color of his blood because of it). He sinks back to the seat once he realizes the woman is just reporting the news. "Here's Extreme with More Than Words." Her tone is too bubbly; it's rich and happy, almost soothing (it seems like all radio people have that same voice, you can almost never tell woman on the radio apart because of it), but he can tell she's dead on the inside.

He bets she's going through a ruff divorce.

Or just lost her sister to something.

Probably cancer.

The familiar tune begins to bleed in through the speakers; crisp and clear as any of the other songs before it, but this one means something too him.

She'd been in the middle of telling him off for saying she'd give Rigsby Monday off; and he'd seen the signs rather quickly, her gaze had floated towards the ceiling, she'd become distracted rather quickly and he noticed the faint blush crawling up her neck and onto her cheeks. She was no longer focusing on his words as he began to state how it put him in an awkward situation; but she's already forgotten the petty lie.

"I used to love this song," She whispers softly; probably more to herself than him; relishing in the memories connected to it; one of the few good ones from her childhood. He hears the confession none the less; and he'd already known this was her favorite song, not by her telling him but instead her reaction to it, the way she began to unconsciously shuffle in her spot and blush.

That's when something similar to hope blossomed; watching her, and even though he wished he didn't feel the emotion spreading across his chest, it did anyway and began to build itself a home. "So obviously you wanna dance." He states and her head snaps up to look at him; and he's got his answer, but she still denies it.

"With you?" She asks with fake disgust and true shock, eyebrows rising slightly; as if the idea was insane, but he can see the smirk curling on the edges of her lips. "No."

He smiles at that, gesturing with his hands to himself and then to the dance floor, "Come on," He purrs. "You can pretend I'm that mean cold hearted guy you used to warship from affair but never talk too," He sticks his hands back in his pockets and rocks back and forth on his heels, he was shooting in the dark with that comment about cold hearted guys but he's got a feeling that it'll work.

And it does.

He can see her last strand against it crumble when she glances away from him, back down to the floor, the smile on her lips becoming genuine; her blush deepens just a bit, and he swears that he can feel the happiness rolling off in waves from her. "No funny business." She tells him, turning towards the dance floor.

He reaches up and takes hold of her hand; noting with amusement how her entire hand curls around his index finger; it makes him smile, he stops a few feet in and spots the smile that has grown on her face. He grabs her other hand and raises it; pulling her into his arms and against his chest, he hesitates for the briefest of moments about laying his hand on her hip.

He has a feeling that she'd fall the whole thing off if he did, so he instead settles for a arm curled around her back and tries not to pull her a little bit closer; his smile comes back to life for a moment when he notices how his hand nearly covers the entire top section of her shoulders, and it dies slowly, painlessly, as he takes the first step.

He turns them slowly, and tries to ignore the way how she fits so nicely against him; her hips a few inches below his own, her head comfortably resting against his jaw, her hand curled around his shoulder; although it slides a bit as they turn and nestles against the top section of his back. He notices soon enough that he doesn't have to worry about stepping on her toes; she's always a step ahead or a step behind.

He takes to think about all of this and then he speaks.

"Trumpet?" His tone is light.

"No," She chirps, the word coming out on a sigh as she leans a bit more into him; he'd bet she's closing her eyes now, letting herself relax – not completely, but relax still.

She'd been so solid against him that night; something he could hold onto.

"Does this song mean something to you?" Red John asks, as if they were old men sitting at a bar; talking about long dead wives, relishing in the good memories of them; and as he speaks he's shattering the moment he'd been reliving a few seconds before.

He doesn't answer and like the supposed good friend Red John turns the radio up; the song chirps for a moment, clicking with static before the melody and lyrics continue, as perfect as before, but just a bit louder.

And then the car spins; and he flies forward, smacking fiercely against the seats in front of him; the small compartment holding useless things slotted between the driver's seat and the one next to it digs in painfully into his stomach; knocking the air from his lungs within seconds of the impact.

He's shoved back into his row of seats just as hard as the car turns a complete 90 degrees, counter clockwise. He's still trying to get his breath back; gasping painfully, normally he'd have it under control by now but whatever drug Red John's put in his system is slamming and cutting off any attempt at biofeedback.

He's so focused on breathing that he doesn't hear the serial killer in question pop open his door and step out, walk around and open the door at his feet; in fact, all he can hear is the song blaring by his ears; although in reality it's a soft background noise and that it's his mind that makes it seem so loud. He swallows and squints at the fresh light bleeding in through his door; most of it blocked by the lurking silhouette, that's what brings him back to his senses; the face of Red John.

He feels his mouth drop open; the air leave his lungs, his pulse dies for a moment as all he's stride to find and kill for the last decade stands before him, the devil himself; creator of the demons he now carries.

"Oh, come now Patrick." Red John purrs softly; looking rather pleased with himself; the cat has the mouse in the corner once more. "You can't be that surprised." He pauses for a moment, waiting for Jane's answer; but all he can do is swallow, and try to stop his breathing from coming out desperate gasps; he wants to go out with his pride in tact after all.

Jane doesn't answer so Red John continues. "I know you can't be genially surprised, or at least I truly hope you aren't. Either way I'm gonna guess it's the drugs in your system." He smiles; his teeth glinting in the sunlight. "Strong stuff, let me tell you." He shifts and leans against the car, propping his elbow up on the frame, and resting his head against his fist. "Cost likes Hell though, but, it's all worth it in the end." He chirps.

He watches Jane for a few moments; eyes glossed over with a careful consideration. "You know -" He begins to say.

"No." Jane snaps, cutting him off and Red John shakes his head, making a small tsk sound; made from disappointment and just a hint of rage, the kind of rage that causes you to kill without mercy, the kind that creates a serial killer.

"Alright, if you truly feel that way." He speaks and his tone is a new sort of calm, like he's finally accepted it too; that Jane is going to die here.

Jane wishes he could kick the man; but he can't due to the way his feet and legs are tingling.

He can't move; he's facing the man who killed his wife and child, who's taken so many lives and he's useless to do anything.

He knows who Red John is and he'll be taking that knowledge to the grave.

He's so consumed in these thoughts that he doesn't notice Red John has moved till he's looming above him; his breath brushing against his cheeks and chin. "My oh my, you keep drifting off. What's got you so deep in thought, Patrick?"

He opens his mouth to say a response and that's when he feels the blade pressed against his right bicep; he stiffens, the muscles in his arm go taunt, painfully taunt, and the prickles zap through his nerve system like needles, waking the arm up and he knows he shouldn't move; that it will only make the pain worse, but as he presses his head against the bottom of his deathbed, he can't help it, his arm twitches just barely and the slow anguish that will, and only could, be death starts.

He tries to stop his strangled shout as the blade tears across his bicep, going deep enough to cut, although he hopes it only skims, the surface of his Musculocutaneous nerve. He realizes rather quickly that trying to muffle the sound will only make matters worse; he notices this at the sharp pain in his nose when he inhales swiftly; so he unlocks his jaw and let's Red John win.

He screams; the sound ragged and from the pit of his chest, sounding like an animal and completely inhuman, with the hint of something metallic breaking; but he supposes that the last may as well be his heart.

The blood is warm and slick as it flows out from the incision, and within seconds he finds himself calculating how long he can survive with a wound like that; and then with a cold and sudden realization, he knows that he will be doing that after every wound he receives, trying to figure out how much longer he has left in a rush; like how a child almost done with their homework rushes through the last few questions because they can taste the freedom of having done it all and completing the tasks assigned to them.

The blood laps and presses his suit to the skin of his arm and does nothing to stop it's flow; instead it only makes it worse, the cut stings like someone's holding a flame too it and the worst part is he can't jerk away from its source; because the candle that holds the flame is him.

He thinks distantly he might be hyperventilating.

That thought grounds him, and makes him notice the small pressure just at the base of the cut.

Red John is holding a small Dixie cup to the wound, collecting the blood as it slips out; he notices Jane's attempts to get a better look and smiles to himself. "Sorry for any inconvience but I'll need this." He draws the cup away once it's filled to the brim, taking extra care to run it across the wound as he goes, which increases the flame as the fabric is pushed in the opposite direction against it; and the paper like material that creates the rim skims along it; the unnatural texture adding another layer to his Hell. "Probably more than you will." He continues, talking over Jane's groans.

Jane swallows and waits for the next slice to come but it doesn't; instead he's blessed with the sight of death in human form retreating, light dances behind him; almost a faint yellow color; the kind of color you get from incredibly fresh daffodils and sunflowers.

"You –"He swallows again, and inhales through his nose along with his mouth in a desperate need for oxygen (which turns out to be a bad idea seconds later when blood floods his mouth) "What are you waiting for?" He asks, rephrasing his original question. Red John shifts in the sunlight and his silhouette is casted with a silver lining, darkness covering and developing his features. "It was never going to be the end of a blade for you, Patrick." He says, leaning against the frame of the car like he had before, the blade in question (which notes is a Linoleum knife, although he already knew that because he could tell how it was structured and what brand it was when it was slicing through his arm and across his nerve. Curved blades and straight ones have a very different way when it comes to cutting into flesh) is dangling loosely from his grip in his other hand; blood dripping along the edge.

"Oh, no." He continues, just as calm; the humor which he had come to accept as normal when talking to Red John gone from his tone completely. He drops the blade and it feels like an eternity has passed before Jane hears it crash and clatter on the pavement. The hand that had been holding the blade reaches inside his blazer, smearing a sharp red across the pure white dress shirt; but he ignores it completely and pulls a gun from his inside pocket.

"No, I personally always thought it was going to be the barrel of a gun that brought your demise." He aims the gun at him; but the object is blurred and dissertating, it's a smudge of gray; almost like a streak of charcoal before him, on the canvas of something so much more; but Jane knows that it is probably not the light causing the gun to look like that, but rather because he's so close to passing out from blood loss.

For a moment he worries about the fact that he can't see the brand of it; but then he realizes the thought is pointless because soon enough its bullet will be in his head, and he CBI will find out what kind of gun was used when they pull it out and send it to forensics.

"Any last words, Patrick?" Red John asks; and he has no doubt in his mind that this is Red John and not some piss poor excuse of a disciple, or a wanna-be.

He grins; despite the pain blooming in his arm and spreading across his neck and chest, despite the fact he's on deaths door and will never see the woman he loves again, that he never got to see his family avenged, and that he knows there is nothing waiting for him after this; no sweet lie of a afterlife with his wife and daughter; and he's alright with all of it because he knows one thing; and so despite the fact that he dies today, he grins and faces the inedible death before him with laughter in his voice.

"Yes, I do actually, don't worry, they'll catch you soon enough." His smile grows as his mind flicks through memories of Lisbon; she's smart enough to follow the trails he's left behind, she knows the names in his notebook; and her team, her team is brilliant and they'll get the job done.

They'll just have to be amazing without him and he knows that they can be, and how they can also be so much more than that; they'll be the team that catches Red John. The team that avenges him and everyone else who was slaughtered by the madman.

He laughs and then continues, "I have no doubt of it." And his grace, in his final moments, is getting to watch the pure hatred wash over Red John's face; almost a look of defeat for the man given how he wears it.

And then the gun fires.

* * * * * * * *

She's sitting in her office, filling out a suspect report for the case they'd just receive when her phone rings, she shifts her pen to her other hand and scans over the paper before her as she picks it up with her now free hand on the beginning of the second ring.

"Agent Lisbon." She says, not removing her eyes from the name scribbled down in her own hand writing.

She frowns when the first three seconds tick by with a simple silence, she's about to hang up when she begins to hear a laugh; wheezy at first; the kind of wheeze a person gets when they've laughed so hard they've got tears in the corners of their eyes and they can't catch their breath. The wheeze gives birth to a light chuckle which dies and becomes a deep throated laugh, which continues on; changing pitch as lives.

The laughter stops abruptly and enough time has passed for the blood in her veins to run cold; for her palms to become sweaty and for her stomach to tie itself in knots painful enough that would have made her double over if she hadn't already been sitting.

"You may be able to save him if you hurry." The caller says; his voice incredibly high, and still a bit wheezy. She blinks and finds her heart in her throat at those words; it threatens to choke and smother her but she shoves past it; finding rage from somewhere she didn't know she had.

"Where are you?" She demands; not growling or snarling the words, but instead keeping them crisp and clean and sharp, keeping the emotion out of her voice with the exception of hatred; Jane's done it enough times around her for her to pick the trick up.

"Oh," He purrs. "You're not even curious who I am, Agent Lisbon?" He asks, sounding almost disappointed; she imagines he's pouting now, even if she can't see him.

"Where's Jane?" She asks; her vision blurring out, she wraps her hand around the arm of her chair to keep herself from shaking, although it does little good.

Surprisingly, he tells her, gives her the address and everything; even the details she doesn't want and enough that will undoubtedly fuel her nightmares for the oncoming years.

"I'd give him about ten; maybe seven minutes till he bleeds out, you may want to hurry." And then the line goes dead.

But she'd already been up and moving out of her chair before it cut out, she doesn't even bother to put it back in its cradle; doesn't bother to grab her jacket, she just runs straight for the bullpen.

"He's got Jane."

She blurts as soon as she steps foot into the bullpen, loud enough and with enough emotion that everyone looks up; not just her team, some stare at her in confusion while others get a cold look of realization on their faces. She inhales and wishes her heart would stop trying to beat out of her chest; it's a physical pain now, what she's feeling, but she has to ignore it. She rattles off the address without much emotion, which she's thankful for, and she doesn't even wait for a response; just turns and goes, running for the elevator.

Because no one has to ask who he is.

Her team follows, and others as well; with the small exception of them being they aren't on her team; but care deeply for the consultant, find his antics, when they are not disruptive, amusing and a small highlight in their day.

* * * Surprisingly, he doesn't get a bullet in his head.

Ironically; he gets it in his heart instead.

Red John fires the gun; which is unbelievably loud; he thinks distantly of a clap of thunder, and lightening comes when the bullet hits him, he can count the seconds between the gunshots and when it rips up his flesh on one hand, panic surprisingly makes a comeback when it rips at the fabric of his suit and destroys it completely and then promptly digs into his chest.

Red John is gone by the time the bullet has nudged its way in and made a home in his heart.


He squirms against the leather seat and his hands flutter uselessly against his lower back, squirming only makes it worse; he watches in horror as blood bubbles up from the wound in a rush and he plops back down; going completely still, trying to focus on his breathing and slowing his heart rate; he chooses to ignore the fact pain is gone from his right arm, because he knows adrenalin is what has stitched it temporarily back together, and when he can feel it again; it'll be worse than before. That's when the car door slams shut and the light vanishes all together; leaving behind a murky echo of itself; and the small space around him darkens incredibly, colors reverting to their opposites and what would be their original shades to him; going from very light shades to the darkest ones. He struggles to lift his head and watches as a shadow washes over him as Red John paints the smiley face onto the car window; it remains after his silhouette is gone; in some places the car is now tinted with a dark red hue.

He lets his head fall back against the bottom of the seat again then and only then does he breathe; wincing at the pain it brings and gags half way through exhaling, which results in a quick attack of gasps and some more sputtering. He sucks in a breath mid way and cuts off his sputtering; he does that several times; sucking in big breaths and not letting them out, ignoring the metallic taste that swiftly paints his mouth, mixing with his saliva.

He exhales slowly and this time manages to regain some sort of control; it still hurts but he manages not to risk choking himself when he inhales in the following second. He focuses for nearly two minutes, and no more because he can't spear the time, on his breathing and once he's far away from agony as he can get; which truly isn't that far, he allows himself to think, to figure out how much more time he has and what he can do with it.

That's when he realizes what's playing in the background.

Saying I love you Is not the words I want to hear from you It's not that I want you Not to say, but if you only knew How easy it would be to show me how you feel More than words is all you have to do to make it real Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me 'Cause I'd already know

He sucks in a breath; ignoring the Hell it brings and instead focuses on the tears that spring in his eyes as he realizes with horror what Red John's final act has been; the man undoubtly knew what this song was a trigger for, given that it was a love song and how Jane had let himself slip into the memory in favor of the reality surrounding him; choosing a memory over the man who had killed his family, now that must be a very precious one.

One that he would now destroy for both Jane and Lisbon; because Jane knows now when Lisbon first see's his deathbed she'll hear the song; muffled by the frame of the car and when she opens the door it will be so much clearer, she'll recognize it and then see him; that is something that will become forever etched into her mind, destroying and ruling over the place the memory of them dancing held in her mind.

He exhales slowly, running his tongue across his lips, wanting desperately to spit and get rid of the sour taste in his mouth; but he can't, moving now will only make it worse.

He pauses, realizing of something new slowly sinking in and it pushes him to lift his head once more.

What else does he have to lose?

He scrunches and squirms, pushing against the seat with his hands; grinding his teeth and eventually screaming at the pain caused when by his movements; the way his chest aches so deeply he wants to vomit, at the way his arm feels like it's being split in two and how the ropes burn into his wrist and ankles.

His chest is heaving as he leans against the seat, sitting upright now; he looks out the window, at the shadowed surface of the smiley face and that sight is what causes the small flicker of strength to be reignited somewhere deep inside and with a lungs full of air he raises his legs and kicks the door; he pauses after, slamming onto the bottom of the seat with the momentum, gasping for breath, he waits about half a second before kicking again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

* * * * Her team files into one of the CBI vehicles and others follow, sirens blaring as they pull onto the roads; the address and situation passes around like office gossip, either it be in person or over phone; everyone knows within the next five minutes what's going on.

On her way out however she had struggled not to punch a man who snipped, "He had it coming, the guy's a jackass." To a coworker when she walked by; however they had grown silent in her wake and she had sworn she had heard the coworker who had remained silent, whisper;

"Isn't that his girlfriend?"

* * * On the main road the first three minutes tick by with a thick silence; with the exception of ripping velcro as Lisbon's team pulls on their bullet proof vests.

"Boss," Grace says; gesturing to the one free vest in her lap.

"I'll put it on when we get there." She says; and they all know it's a lie but they don't say anything, no one says anything till Lisbon speaks again; "Cho I need you to call a ambulance and inform them of the situation and address –"

"Already did." Her second in command deadpans, she nods; relief flooding her system.

"Van Pelt –"She begins

"I've already got people back on head quarters attempting to trace the location of where the call originated from." She nods; more relief, but she still can't relax; which is unsurprising, she knows she won't be able to till she see's Jane, even though her stomach's filled to its led with dread she doubts seeing him will bring any relief; in fact, it will probably bring everything but.


As they make one of the final turns onto the long stretch of road leading to the air port enough tension has gathered and built up in the car to kill someone however thankfully it never gets that far because Lisbon presses on the gas and the car picks up speed; skipping slightly as it does.

She pulls into the airport going far over the speed limit but no one says a word; their hands curling on the edges of their seats, and the car skips again when Lisbon's grip slips on the wheel when a black Volvo comes into view and one thing because very obvious; the sharp red dripping smiley face on wind shield of the passenger door.

The car skips a third time before coming to a screeching halt as she slams on the breaks and flings open the door, "Boss!" She hears Van Pelt shout, Rigsby and Cho remaining gracefully silent as they jump out and follow in her wake.

She runs the short distant from her vehicle to the Volvo and with every step her heart slams harder in her chest and she worries about losing her lunch, a cold sweat passing over her as she reaches the side of the door.

She hesitates, just for a moment; listening to the sound of the ambulance's siren fill the air as it pulls in, to the sound of the other CBI vehicles, to the sound of doors opening and slamming shut; the awkward silence that follows as those who had tagged along slowly realize that they aren't needed.

She stares at the red smiley face directly in front of her; watching a trickle of Jane's blood slides down from the eye; and she can hear something playing inside the car, it's muffled to her ears and she can't bring herself to care and that's when she hears a dull thump; directly below where her knees are located but from the inside of the car, it's followed by another one and that's what causes her to yank the door open, even though she knows she isn't prepared for the inedible sight inside.

And she was right.

Jane's body lay pressed in the small space against the middle row a seats and the drivers, he was tilted forward, out of view; the closest thing to her was his feet, which she could see were bleeding; and after a moment of staring it clicked in her mind that they were bleeding because of the ropes tied around his ankles. She leaned in, gripping the frame of the car and climbing along the middle row of seats; and that's when the sent hit her.

Thick and murky; metallic almost, it's rolling off him in waves, along with the strong scent of vomit, and when she gets close enough she see's that his head is resting a few inches from a puddle of it; which happens to be mixed with blood, slowly dripping from his lips; she takes in the sight and realizes he used the last amount of strength he had to make sure he wasn't lying in his own vomit; that's Jane, making sure he goes out with his pride and grace in check.

She leans in, words falling from her lips; that sound distant to her own ears, like she's underwater and it's all because she's so focused on him.

She grips the edge of the seat and presses two fingers against the skin of his neck; her heart rips into pieces from within her chest when the cold of his skin begins to suck the heat out from her fingertips, but she wills and forces herself not to rip her hand back, to take her warmth with her, to lie to herself and pretend that it isn't true because she needs to accept it; that Jane's dead, the sight of his body before her should in force this new reality but it doesn't, it instead does the exact opposite.

Then she feels the pulse flutter underneath her fingers, faint and small but it's there; it provokes her to press harder and he groans softly, and the pulse thumps again. "Cho!" She hollers, "Rigsby!" She yells as she slides down, ignoring as she places her feet in his vomit; instead focusing on wrapping one arm around his left shoulder and gently pushing him up till he's sitting; he sinks against her, whimpers falling from his lips.

"It's alright Jane," She lies; keeping her voice soft and low to make it less obvious when it breaks and how thick it sounds to her own ears. "Everything will be alright." His chest rises in a ragged, uneven pase; like the needle skipping over a record.

"Boss," Rigsby's silhouette covers the beautiful light that had been bleeding into the small place. "The ambulance is here, do you want help moving him?" She's impressed at how Rigsby's voice is in check; even if his face isn't, which happens to be covered in obvious pain and worry.

"I'm gonna need it." She tells him, moving to stand; ignoring the retched sent below her; her hand glides across his right bicep in the movement and that's when he screams.

She freezes and her heart stills in her chest and for a split second she's unsure of what to do, Jane's scream is still ringing in her ears, and it takes her even longer to realize that the sound has been cut off, that he's grinding his jaw together to keep the sound locked up tight; away from her.

She moves slowly, ignoring Rigsby; who stands a few feet away. "Jane." She says softly, trying to decipher how conscious he is, "I'm sorry but this is going to hurt, we have to move you." And as she speaks she notices the little tear in the pocket of his suit, "Rigsby." She speaks again; her tone on edge.

"Yes?" His voice crack and she ignores it.

"Move." And he does; and light floods in once more, casting everything in a pale shade of blue; revealing the blood covering his chest – how, how had she not seen or felt that?

"He shot me –"Jane inhales sharply, his swallow loud in her ears, he gasps again at the end of his sentence; gagging slightly, his chest heaves in the after math, fresh blood trickling from his lips.

"Don't try to talk," She snaps at him, taking a moment to send him a glare; which he see's through one eye, due to how the other is squeezed shut in pain and for a moment she swears she see's love, so much love, in that single blue-green eye and it's gone; replaced by hurt and aguish before he shuts it up tight (now a matching set for its companion) and grinds his teeth a bit more, all of this happening in the few moments before she speaks again. "Get a god damn gurney, and I'm so sorry Jane – Rigsby help me move him." She moves, feet sliding against the blood slick floor and pushes, half picks up the man, heading for the door.

Rigsby meets her half way; moving to take Jane from under his arms to get him out of the small car, only to stop at the last second. "Boss –"He begins to say, but Lisbon cuts him off.

"Whatever injury it is, we'll let the paramedic's take care of it, for now just move." Her voice cracks, but she ignores it; she seems to be ignoring a lot of things, she's too focused on going through the motions.

"But –"Rigsby attempts to speak; looking at the deep slice on Jane's arm.

"Shut up and listen to her, Wayne. Just grab my arm." Jane spits, from where he leans against Lisbon.

"Jane if anyone should be shutting up, it's you!" Lisbon snarls, glaring at him; her eyes glossy for a moment, before moving him towards Rigsby, who does what was requested of him, despite Jane's startled shout of pain and as they exit the vehicle the paramedics descend, grabbing him and somehow managing to get him onto the gurney; and running off to the ambulance, and she's on his heels; or was, but something stops her.

What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel

That your love for me is real

What would you say if I took those words away

Then you couldn't make things new

Just by saying I love you

She stands still; her feet wavering and unsteady below her, and she fears for a moment that she's going to faint; as she focuses everything she has on that song, ignoring the broken and shattered world around her, just for a moment as she listens to the words.

"Boss!" It's Van Pelt.

"Boss!" The Agent snaps again, and she suddenly feels a hand on her shoulder and the world blooms back into focus, the cracks slam together and hold onto each other; and she's staring into the fiery eyes off one of her closest friends. She swallows down anything she may be feeling, but allows herself one grace before she shoves it all down completely.

"We – I danced to this song with him." She says softly, letting herself to feel relief; that he's alive, and that they found him, that she didn't have to see the inedible horror of him laying sliced up underneath a red smiley face, at least, for now.

"I know, and he needs you now." Van Pelt says in return, her voice just has low and soft; comfort bleeding into her tone; like how a mother would speak to a child after they have a nightmare, along with that kind of understanding that a woman only gets when she has seen the man she loves in physical pain as well.

Lisbon nods, breathing in the moist air around them; letting her eyes gloss over once more because she knows it will be quite some time till she can cry, she blinks and the gloss is gone and she tampers down her emotions by focusing on one thing – they found him, and he's alive and he's safe.

He's safe.

She takes a step, Grace's hand remains on her shoulder and for that she's thankful, she wants to offer a smile to her friend but she can't find it within her to do so, so instead she lays a hand on top of hers and takes another step; ready to walk from Hell that is the black Volvo and into Heaven; which is found in the red and white ambulance about twenty feet away.

And that's when the car behind them burst into flames; one last attempt to stop them from leaving, the final demon; sent by the devil himself.

He's safe now.

But she sure isn't.

* * * * * * The next few minutes happen as though she isn't in her body; she'd heard the explosion, felt the flames lick at her back, at her ankles; at her hair, felt Grace's hand vanish from her shoulder, felt the fear and horror at the lost of the steady weight; heard the shouts of her team's own horror and the next thing she knew she was laying on the ground with the blurry vision of a man in white above her.

The sounds blur and mesh together and make it as though she's underwater; and they're on the surface, or in the air; miles and miles from where she is, trapped underneath the water at the bottom of the ocean.

"God?" She asks, it's the first thing that comes to mind at the blurred out figure, it bubbles to her lips and she can't stop it as it comes out on an exhale.

"Agent Lisbon!" God responds, his tone harsh and filled with concern and urgency; and that's enough the drag her from the waves and onto the beach.

The paramedic shakes her once more; and he blooms into focus, distantly she thinks off the not-so-new hot guy in the mail room, she wonders if this is his brother. He shakes her again and says her name once more and her ears ring in the aftermath, she inhales and her lungs scream in protest.

He shifts, pulling her up; she'd been lying on the ground and hadn't even realized it, her legs feel like jelly underneath her and her back and calves are screaming with the fierce sort of pain that forces her to think about doubling over and never move again in hopes to dim it.

He hooks her left arm around his shoulders and holds onto her wrist in a tight grip, the other arm wrapping around her waist and settling just below her last rib; she's rather surprised by the courtesy in his touch. He then begins walking; and this time she nearly doubles over, her legs scream in pain and she struggles to stay upright. "I'm sorry," He apologizes, "But we need to hurry –"And as he speaks she hears another man holler;

"Do we need a gurney for her too?"

Gurney; that's what it takes for the fog in her mind to clear and lift, for her to snap upright and straighten out her steps, still leaning against the paramedic, even though she doesn't want to; but she knows cooperation is the best thing at the moment. "You can pick up the pase." She says and within seconds she's stepping into the back of the ambulance and sliding in next to Grace; Cho and Rigsby sitting across from them, and Jane in the middle; a blanket tossed around his legs, which are strapped down and one paramedic hovers on his left side; holding a bandage to his chest (his shirt is unbuttoned and the vest is long gone, a bloody heap in the far front left corner, near Cho's foot) while the other wraps a thick gauze around his bicep, his chest rises slowly in a even pace; his eyes are shut and a oxygen mask rests on his jaw.

Grace has a red angry smudge on the left side of her forehead; a few small cuts doting across her lips, and chin; scrapes on her neck but other than that she appears physically fine, she holds wad of bandages to her left forearm.

Relief fills Lisbon's chest and she focuses on Grace for a moment, who catches her gaze and swallows, and behind them the ambulance's doors slam shut (she doesn't even bother to send a second glance out the small window to the car's remains in flames about twenty feet away) and the vehicle purrs as it drives away; sirens wailing; "Boss you're –"She begins to say.

"I'm fine, are you alright?"

Grace nods; with a look of concern etched into her features; jumping slightly as the ambulance shakes as it pulls back onto the main roads. "Nothing serious," she says with a small smile. "Just some scrapes and bruises."

She wants to apologize for standing still like a idiot in the first place; if she had moved her ass than Grace wouldn't have been caught in the explosion in the first place.

"Now Boss," She's speaking again, so Lisbon draws herself away from her thoughts and focuses her attention on the red headed woman. "You should really get yourself checked out." Her tone is pleading; the small thankful smile has dropped from her face; there's an edge in her gaze that states she won't take no for a answer.

"I'm fine." Lisbon answers, glancing at the man lying still in the center of the ambulance.

"No you're not." Cho deadpans from where he sits; his tone careful, impassive; but when he speaks again there's the tiniest hint of emotion, concern and understanding; how he sounds like the latter one, she doesn't know; but she's got a few guesses (most of them probably have sprouted from long gone experiences he had with Summer Edgecombe). "You've got first degree burns in multiple spots, deep incisions in multiple places, that will need stitches, including one that will probably need staples on your left ankle –" at the mention of the wound, it begins to burn softly; "a mild concussion," and he doesn't even stutter, doesn't blink at the next statement as he says it. "And Jane is lying before you with a bullet in his chest and a nearly severed arm."

Tears burn at the edges of her eyes when he finishes speaking and she swallows; ignoring the physical pain but refusing to feed the emotion pain. "Well, we're on our way to a hospital; I'll get patched up there." As she speaks she holds eye contact with Cho, only looking away as she finishes speaking; focusing on Jane's face, and how peaceful he looks, almost asleep (although she knows both are lies, he never sleeps, not really).

His eyes flutter and she goes rigid in her seat; her fingers wrapping tightly around the ice cold metal she's sitting on, and his eyes continue to peel open; sharp blue-green becoming visible; along with the small red veins in the whites of his eyes. He stares at the ceiling for a few moments, and then slowly his gaze drops, rolling to Cho, and then Rigsby; then Grace, where they go slightly wide, and then to Lisbon; where he then begins to squirm slightly in the gurney and his eyes gloss over with the movement, but remained focus on her.

She carefully rises, keeping eye contact with him and steps past Grace, taking the place of the long gone paramedic (who'd left once she wrapped his bicep and sat in the chair about two feet away) and kneels down, and his eyes strain to keep her in his field of vision.

"Relax." She tells him softly, and he doesn't of course; her hands curl into tight fists in her lap. "Jane," She continues, "I'm fine." Her tone is stern, "Now, I won't be if you don't relax." She watches as his eyes re-gloss and his pupils dilate and shrink; but slowly he sinks into the gurney. She offers him a small smile, and whispers a thanks; but the smile dies when he begins to move his left hand; it rises towards the oxygen mask and she beats him too it; removing the mask and setting it carefully on his chin; he sucks in a breath and clears his throat.

* * * * The pain burrowing in his chest like a field mouse in a corn field has faded; gone into a long hibernation; and he's ever so thankful for it, though any sort of thanks vanishes at the sight of Lisbon, covered in bruises and scrapes and burns; and he fears that if he looks away from her as she rises from her seat to come closer that she'll vanish, fall over; die. So he doesn't look away, but he does as she requests to make sure she doesn't do any of the things that he's worried about; he relaxes for her sake.

His mind switches into auto pilot from there, and suddenly he's lifting a hand to remove the oxygen mask from his face, but like the angel she is; she does it for him. He takes a moment to revel in the feeling to be free from the plastic that had been digging painfully into his cheeks and then he sucks in a breath; the air is crisp and free of that brumal taste the oxygen from the tank had. He clears his throat and pushes past the metallic taste that washes up and threatens to make him vomit again, that, is an experience he has no wish to repeat anytime soon.

"I know who Red John is –"He states and all gazes in the ambulance (with the exception of the medical staff) focus on him; Lisbon goes rigid, and he can tell she's about to ask him to share the info, and he's about too; it's on the tip of his tongue, the name of the man who killed his wife and child; who slaughtered so many others, that caused so much pain.

But then the field mouse wakes up and it all begins to crash down; the corn begins to die, and the tunnels the mouse had built begin to collapse and the auto pilot in his mind has left the plane; which now has burst into flames and is taking a nose dive for the ground.

He hides the anguish he's feeling from her; he can do that, "Lisbon –"He says – the smoke from the plane plagues his lungs, and soon it'll ignite the corn field and the field mouse will be the death of him.

"I'm right here," She says softly; even though there's urgency in his voice, she's taking time to be careful with him. "Who is it?" She asks this time, and there's a new sort of light in her eyes; hope (for a better future and for ending this nightmare and waking him up from it).

Oh god, he's going to have to watch that light die.

"Lisbon –"He says again; not sure if he already said her name; there's a fog brushing against the horizon of his mind, and he gets the feeling he already did by the look on her face. He sucks in a lung full of air to keep the fog and smoke at bay and ignores the field mouse digging around frantically in his chest; attempting to get out through the already collapsed tunnels.

He knows he has a decision to make in the final moments when the field mouse curls into a tight little ball in the last remaining tunnel and accepts its fate; death. He knows that he can tell her who Red John is, or hold true to the pact he made a long time ago.

She always comes before Red John.

It's more of a list (a never ending one) than a pact, but anyway he remains true to it.

"I –"He chokes; blood rushing up into his throat, his mouth, sputtering and splashing against his lips with a fierce kind of knocking, and disgusted, he swallows it down and flinches internally because he knows when he opens his mouth to speak again his teeth will be tinted red; he opens his mouth to speak and his terror is confirmed by the look of shock that washes over her face; it brings tears to his eyes. "I love you." He tells her, looking her straight in the eyes; and he watches those tears get reflected into her own eyes.

She blinks, once, twice. Once for the shock of what he's just said, again for the shock that he said thatinstead of telling her the identity of Red John and third for the realization of why he said that instead of telling her the identity of Red John.

She opens her mouth to protest, to poke the field mouse with a stick to wake it back up; and to have it climb out the hole she made with the stick, or to grab hold and let itself be dragged back up to the surface.

She blinks once more as the sound of the weak, much smaller heart monitored gives of the signs that he's coding; and the sharp, quick beeping sound; along with Lisbon's muffled shouts and words of terror are the last thing he hears.

He doesn't have to watch the light die because his eyes have already rolled back into his sockets by then.

* * * * She gapes at him like a fish out of water at those words, well at first it had been because of the fresh coat of blood on his teeth, but then he'd spoken.

"I love you."

It was the first time he'd said it with a 'I', it had taken her a few seconds to get over the initial shock, the confusion that he'd changed the topic to something so unimportant (at the moment) and then realization as to why he changed it; as to why he would change his words, because they would be his dying ones and like the show man he was; he had to go out with a bang that left the audience so stunned it would take them a while to start clapping.

She opens her mouth to tell him not to think like that; that he'll be fine, for him not to be such a jackass by saying that on his supposed death bed.

But she never gets the chance; no, instead she gets to watch those lovely and beautiful blue-green eyes turn white as the roll into the back of his skull, and his body go rigid as it begins to convulse, the small heart monitor in the corner goes crazy; shrieking loudly, and without her knowing it she's somehow shoved aside (or grabbed? Or led?) into her seat and she's watching the horror play out before her.

She listens to the paramedics push drugs into his system (they shout what kind, and how much; described in beautifully long and complicated words), charge his body (his chest lifts and falls with the shock); and she listens to it all through a muffled sort of silence, which she realizes much later is that it was her ears ringing.

The sights before her blur together; into sharp beautiful colors (which he would have loved, he'd always appreciated beauty in such things as the colors you see every day at their greatest; kind of like people, she thinks), and all she can feel is hands grabbing her (none of the pain that's flooding her system, she's too numb for that, she doesn't want to feel it).

The hands are ushering her out of the way as the doors of the ambulance fly open once more; revealing a sharp white light that blurs everything momentarily before it clears, and the paramedics rush by; hollering orders and statistics as they push him away; heading for the emergencies doors.

She stares until he's out of sight; and then she blinks, her eyelashes pull away damp with her own tears.

Her ears make a muffled noise.

"Boss!" The noise shifts, it becomes clear; more pristine, far too sharp for her liking; she wants to cover her ears, shut her eyes, and look away.

"Boss!" But the noise won't let her and she can't do any of those things.

"Boss!" He snarls and suddenly she's staring at Cho, who's staring right back, a fierce edge in the light of his eyes; something she thinks, after ten years of knowing him that she'd never seen up until this point, and that she'll probably never see it again.

She blinks, and swallows. "Jane." She says, her eyes flickering away from him in favor of the now shut hospital doors; her tongue is thick in her mouth, almost like cotton, and her throat feels swollen, and as she shuts her lips once more she tastes blood; she bit her tongue hard enough to draw it.

"You need medical attention." Cho states; grabbing her gaze once more and holding onto it with a kind of greed she didn't know he possessed.

She's learning lots of new things about all sorts of people today, things that she never knew.

Like how Jane loves her, and that in her mind; it's been confirmed he never really forgot saying it the first time, that it just wasn't the right time to say it.

She learned the Cho cares more about his team then he lets on; far more than she had suspected.

"But Jane –" Her voice cracks and a small whimper escapes at his name, her throat clogs up and attempts to push out something sharp that hurts enough she may as well be coughing up shards of glass; she wants to cry, but she can't not now; she knows that, it isn't the right time.

He doesn't lie; he doesn't say Jane will be alright, he just repeats his earlier statement. "You need medical attention. We're at the hospital, now let's get you some."

She doesn't know if she should be thankful that he didn't lie, or that she should be even more worried.

"But –"Her lip trembles and the word feels so big; so impossibly big; it almost consumes her, its possibilities, but her team doesn't let it.

Grace grips her shoulder and Lisbon's gaze slowly pulls away from Cho to move to the redheaded woman who she'd grown close enough too to consider her a would-be sister. She expects Grace to lie; but she doesn't, and Rigsby doesn't either as he steps around the trio and climbs from the ambulance; extending both his hands up to her. Which she slowly takes, gripping him tightly and he helps her down, although she doesn't really need help getting down, it'd been a small jump from the ambulance to the ground, that's not what she needed help with.

She needs help with making sure she can stay on her feet long enough to – she doesn't know how long, maybe even for the rest of her life if her life dies; and it will if he does inside those hospital walls.

"Come on," Rigsby says softly, still leading her by the hand to the emergency doors. She feels the looks of concern being exchanged behind her back between Grace and Cho; normally she would have said something, snapped at them to stop worrying and to focus on their jobs.

But it's not normal anymore; normal ends when the four them step through the emergency back doors, which slide open gently and in a rush to accept them into another form of Hell. Cho brushes past her as he goes to fetch a nurse, or intern; he finds a woman in dark blue scrubs and a sharp white lab coat in her arms. This woman's first attempt is to ignore him – she finds it amusing for a moment, knows the feeling; she's trying to get on with her work and do her job and now she's got another man, a complete stranger, in her face requesting, closer to demanding, her to do something else; when she can only do so much, she's only human after all – and then Cho flashes his badge and the humor melts away, along with the color from her face as she gives a brisk nod, looking around and eventually spotting the trio in question after a few seconds.

As she gets closer her features come into view, her skin is pale at the moment; with the faintest echo of pink her cheeks, small brown eyes and long curly red hair. Her pace quickens; and develops into a run as she gets closer; Cho has to pick up his pace to follow.

"Oh God," She says, her arms fluttering to grip Lisbon's elbows; her eyes scanning over her entire form, taking in the wounds, but at the last moment she stops herself from taking hold of the woman. She instead spins around, yelling over her shoulder when she speaks again. "Christina!" She yells, and the younger Asian woman who'd been about to run by stops, spins around; she's dressed in the same clothing as the doctor before them with the exception of a scrub cap.

"What, Kepner?" The woman snaps, clearly frustrated and agitated, she shifts in her spot, ready to dash at a moment's notice; run off and save some lives.

"Where's the closest free room?" The newly named Dr. Kepner asks, and the woman, Christina flushes; her lip curling in disgust, a thick lock of curly black hair falls from her scrub cap, she angrily tucks it back in.

"I don't know! You know better than to ask me! Go ask a nurse, I'm busy, they just brought in a trauma patient, shot in the heart and I need to go, if he's gonna have any chance of surviving." She growls; more color drifting up into her face with every word.

At the words shot in the heart the blood runs cold in her veins (she wants to tell the woman to go, run off and give the man a chance of surviving, but for whatever reason, she can't open her mouth); but she forces it to melt as a few inches in front of her Cho flashes his badge, the woman's eyes flicker to it and then back to Dr. Kepner; she doesn't pale, instead, her face gains more color and she becomes visibly flustered; she gives a audible growl and spits out, "Room 549 – no, hold on, 541, fifth floor." And with it she rushes into the nearest room, and Lisbon catches the glance of what's going on behind the half opened blinds.

She watches as the doctor's hands flutter over the unmoving form of Patrick Jane; his shirt is ripped open; to about half way, revealing the mostly smooth and muscled skin of his chest, with the exception of the very obvious bullet wound in the center of it all, though it's closer to the left; she watches as someone shoves some papers in Christina's direction, she scans over them and shoves them into someone else's arms.

"Alright, let's go." Dr. Kepner chirps, this time placing a gentle hand on Lisbon's elbow; Lisbon doesn't move, instead she remains firmly in her spot, watching carefully as Christina snaps something to a man with ginger hair, who replies with visible aggression; she spins around, away from him and says something to a man in light blue scrubs, who nod frantically.

"Hold on," She breathes; her eyes scanning what she can see, and she eventually finds it after what feels like a life time; a proper heart monitor; all the statistics written out for her to see, the numbers flash and the lines remain eerily still; and her heart drops to her stomach.

"Ma'am we should really go," She looks in the direction of Lisbon's gaze. "You really shouldn't watch this –" Cho flashes his badge again and from the edge of her vision Dr. Kepner gets visibly flustered, like her companion had earlier; the color returning to her face, her lips go into a small tight line with the development; but she remains silent; and slowly the color drains again, and her gaze softens and she doesn't press Lisbon to leave.

"I'm a cop, I've seen worse." She says softly, to no one in particular.

No one responds to that and the man in the light blue scrubs pushes a needle into a clear wire and squeezes its contents into it; the paddles come out once more and press against his chest; he jumps with the movement and her eyes flick to the monitor in anticipation.


Her gaze returns to Christina, who's firing out orders like a drill sergeant; and the paddles press down again and he thrives once more; only to go still after.

She sinks her teeth into her lip hard enough to draw blood but she doesn't care, her eyes flicker to the screen once more.


"Come on you arrogant, selfish son of a bitch, don't give up on me now." She spits out; with tears in her eyes, her fingers curl into fists; leaving half crescents on her palms.

She watches Christina's lips move; and can almost, almost hear her speak; Push 75 milligrams of epi, charge to 300.

The paddles press against his chest once more and she imagines he'll be rightfully pissed because he's going to have a ache when he wakes up due to them – if he wakes up ever again; they withdraw and he thrives in the aftermath, she watches as he arches up and falls back; watches his lips move as he gasps, and his eyes flutter open.

She hears a shriek that sounds like a noise an excited child would make (she realizes later that she made that noise); and feels the tears dripping down her cheeks. "He's alive." She murmurs as the door of the room opens with a jarring snap; smacking against the wall and a team of doctors, Christina and the ginger man in the lead, rush down the hall with Jane in there grasps; who's looking quite surprised; given the glance she gets of him; blue-green eyes opened wide and trapped on the ceiling.

She hears the smile in Rigsby's voice when he speaks, "Stubborn bastard, he won't give up on us yet Boss."

"That's because she'd skin him alive if he did." Cho deadpans from in front of her, turning around to face the trio. "You still need attention," He turns to Dr. Kepner. "Can you lead the way?" He asks; and the woman, who'd been watching it all with a small smile gives a sharp nod; the smile dropping as she nods.

"Right this way." She says and they all follow her as she heads for the elevator.

* * *

After being led down a maze of hallways and terribly labeled doors Lisbon finds herself sitting on the edge of a hospital bed; with a gown besides her, she sighs softly and turns; laying on her stomach while a unnamed nurse comes up behind her and cuts open the back of her button up; where she then strips her of it completely.

"You really shouldn't have waited so long to get these treated," Dr. Kepner says softly; and by this time Lisbon knows that she's the talkative kind of doctor, one of those who gets just a bit flustered if she can't hold a conversation; this is what provokes her to respond to the statement.

"I didn't have a choice." She admits, shifting slightly in her place as the nurse pulls the remnants of her shirt from her body; the sleeves leave her after a sharp tug; making a tearing noise as they go, that she knows is dried blood cracking.

"What happened?" She asks, no longer making small talk; instead gathering info for a patient report and hinting that if there's anything Lisbon needs to get off her chest, she'll listen and keep it to herself.

"I was caught in an explosion." She answers, and for a moment she can hear the muffled snarling noise of the car's frame ripping apart and bursting into flames in her own ears, and she cuts the noise off by focusing on the talkative redhead in the room before the screams of her team start to replay.

"That explains the cuts," Dr. Kepner responds and she pauses, "I'm going to start cleaning the burns now, do you want a sedative? Or pain killers?" She asks; and in the wake of her voice there's a soft snapping sound that she recognizes as rubber gloves being pulled on.

She then thinks of Rigsby sitting in the gallery of the OR where Jane's surgery is going on; she'd requested that he send frequent updates through text, no matter what and to tell her imidetly if he crashed again and they couldn't bring him back.

She'll miss that if she's sedated, and her mind will be fuzzy if she's on the pain killers.

"No." She answers and from behind her Dr. Kepner nods.

"Alright, speak up if you change your mind." And with those words a strip of gauze swipes across her shoulder with a ointment that seeps into her skin and burns fiercely enough that it makes her eyes water; but she doesn't let the tears fall, instead she blinks them away and at that moment the door opens and Cho and Van Pelt walk back in.

"They'll be submitting him into the ICU after his surgery is done." Cho states as he walks to one side of the room, where he crosses his arms and leans against the other bed in the room, Van Pelt joins him after a moment of hesitation.

"He's been stable for a while," She says; hope and confidence in her tone and as Lisbon turns her head in the woman's directions she spots the small smile on his lips. "I talked to the trauma surgeon earlier and he said Jane will undoubtedly pull through."

Lisbon nods, feeling a smile play on her lips; but it's hard to smile with the burning sensation creeping underneath her shoulder blades, and for a moment she wishes she had asked for some pain killers, but she chooses to breathe through the feeling over asking for them. "That's good." She states, and her throat feels thick; swollen and the fresh tears in her eyes aren't Dr. Kepner's doing.

It's silent for the next few minutes, the only noise in the room being the unwrapping of fresh gauze and the squirt of ointment being applied to the gauze; and the small hiss of discomfort that manages to break free from Lisbon's lips when it makes contact with her skin.

"He'll be alright, Boss." Cho says, and her eyes dart from where she'd been staring at the wall to him; his face is as impassive as ever but there's true emotion in his voice.

And this time, he isn't lying; she knows that.

Jane will be alright.

* * * His eyes are damp when he opens them, and his throat feels swollen and he knows he should be concerned about it; but he can't bring himself to truly care for his own well being, not at the moment; not with all the memories lurking just underneath the surface.

Lisbon's face after he told her that he loved her; with every intention of never getting the chance to say it again, never getting to see anything other than a distraught and confused look when he tells her.

He swallows again and realizes how fuzzy his mind is at the moment; he knows it's from the pain killers they've given him, which are working full force given the rumpled numb feeling on his chest and arm, he picks his head from the pillow, ignoring the pin prickles that spread across his neck with the movement and glances around the room. One sweep of the room and he knows he's in Intensive Care Unit, which he reckons is a good thing, considering he was shot and nearly lost a arm.

Speaking of which he glances towards the arm in question, the muscle stings; but it's more of the low hum that originates in the aftermath of a scream, and he twists it; it sings and he bends his fingers with a certain amount of difficulty, but for the moment he blames that on the pain killers and not the possibility of permanent nerve damage.

Then there's a knock on the door, he glances up and before he can say a word a doctor pokes her head in.

"Mr. Jane?" She asks, and given how his tongue feels like it's going to be useless in his mouth; he knows his words will be slurred from the drugs, so he doesn't speak to answer her question, instead he nods.

"May I come in?" She asks and he's rather surprised by her tone of voice and how it's screaming at him that she's genuinely concerned for him and his health, that she'll leave if he doesn't want her there and also how she's not looking at him like he's a slab of meat that she'd have fun cutting open and putting back together; that's pretty rare as far as doctor's go, but that doesn't mean he likes her; she's still a doctor after all.

He nods again and she steps into the room; shutting the door gently behind her.

"I'm, Dr. Kepner." She says as she walks over to his bed, extending her hand when she reaches his side; which he takes and shakes for a reasonable amount of time before dropping it. "I treated Miss Lisbon when she was brought in." At this he sits up just a bit straighter; Dr. Kepner smiles at his reaction; and he can tell just by that, that she's a romantic (and she's spotted something between him and Lisbon that intrigues her. But in all honesty everyone's seen something between him and Lisbon, they've just never said anything outright about it; and this stranger doesn't know any better). "She's doing fine by the way, she's sleeping at the moment though, and the rest of your team is upstairs with her." He nods; that's just like them, unwilling to leave her side, although he doesn't blame them, if he could be there at this moment he would be.

"That's good." He says; feeling a smile tug at the corners of his lips almost violently, relief blooms in his chest and the fog in his mind is pushed back just a bit.

And that's when all Hell descends.

At first he thinks he hears himself speak; and it takes a second for it to register that he didn't in fact speak; his lips moved in the words but no sound came out, and given Dr. Kepner's confused expression, this shouldn't be happening.

He clears his throat and tries again; this time mumbling a profanity, which of course, doesn't make it out; his lips move again but no sound.

"Mr. Jane?"

His frown dims as he looks back up at her, he's half way through saying something when it dawns again that she cannot hear him; that he can't speak for whatever reason.

"I'll go fetch someone." She says; looking almost panicked – no, not panicked, concerned; already drawing up possible explanations as to why a gunshot victim has suddenly lost his ability to speak; he can almost see the gears in her mind moving as she attacks this new puzzle with a fair amount of personal interest.

She's about to go when he reaches out and grabs her sleeve and tugs on it, she turns to him once more; "I'll be right back." She tells him as if he was a lost child and he resists the urge to snort at the absurdity of it; but to prove his main point he lifts his hands, his right one numbs over as he goes through the motions of what little sign language he can recall.

She frowns at him; watching his hands and then her eyes rise to meet his face once more; the frown etches a bit deeper, and a look of suspicion joins it; he can see it in the new light in her eyes. "You're not mute, are you?" She asks; skeptical now.

He shakes his head furiously and glances around the room, at his bedside table; desperate for something to write with, it takes her a few seconds before she picks up on what he's looking for but when she does she removes the pen from her lab coat and hands him a small notebook she had in there as well.

I'm certainly not; he writes ask one of the members of my team.

She reads over his shoulder and nods once he places the pen down at his side; she steps back. "Alright, I apologize for being rude –"And she means it; and it makes him like her just a bit, "But it's mandatory to ask this," – that's a lie, she's just curious – "You're not doing this for attention are you? Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just, you cannot physically speak." She states even though it's a question, watching him carefully; most of the skeptical light is gone from her eyes now, but it still lingers; just below the surface.

I wouldn't be doing this out of choice, and I can get attention in other ways if I needed it.

She nods, completely ignoring the second statement in his sentence, a teasing tone normally reserved for Lisbon (he blames it on the drugs that that's how it slipped out); "Alright, I'm going to get someone who specializes with whatever this is." She gestures to him with a small flustered movement with her hands and he nods; "Before I go is there anything else you need?"

He's about to write; my voice, but he instead settles for something that she can get him.

A member from my team?

She smiles at him; "I can do that." She turns and leaves with that.

And of course she brings him Cho, and he wonders if Cho volunteered or if she picked him.

He thinks it's the first one.

* * * * "You better not be doing this for attention." Cho states as soon as Dr. Kepner leaves once more.

She accused me of the exact same thing. He writes down on the notepad she had given him.

"I don't blame her; you seem like the kind of person who would do that sort of thing."

I'm hurt Cho, that you think so poorly of me.

Cho shrugs, "You brought it on yourself."

He pauses for a moment before writing again; more slowly this time, hesitating; which Cho takes into account as he watches him write.

How's Lisbon?

Cho's facial expression softens just a little, "She's sleeping at the moment." He clips his voice taunt.

Care to elaborate on that statement?

Cho turns to him and Jane catches the edge in his expression; which he titles as a sort of righteous anger and it's quite obvious who he's pissed at; Red John, for getting them all in this situation. "She's got first degree burns in multiple areas, different forms of bruising. Several lacerations, most of which all needed stitches and a incision on her ankle deep enough that it needed to be stapled shut, they gave her a sedation for that which is why she's sleeping now. The car you were in exploded after we got you out."

And she'd stopped because she'd recognized the tune of what was playing; Red John may not have killed him, but he succeeded in destroying one of his most favorable memories; he feels the flicker of rage kindle in his chest but he stops it in its tracks; getting emotional now won't do any good.

"You said earlier you saw who Red John was, are you sure it wasn't one of his disciples?" The last word is filled to the brim with venom and sarcasm; the most emotion he's ever heard from Cho.

He had every intention of killing me, I could see it in his eyes; he would have done it himself, a very personal crime, never would have sent someone to do it.

"He shot you instead of cutting you up though."

He always stated that I'd meet death by the barrel of a gun rather than the end of a knife.

Cho remains silent for a few moments before opening his mouth to ask the inedible question, "Well, who is he?"

Jane opens his mouth to answer and his heart stops in his chest and goose bumps spread across him in waves and he feels a panic so intense he almost vomits; he doesn't know.

He forgot who Red John is.

All that's left is a lingering echo of a very important memory that he can't place.

"Jane?" Cho asks; concern in his voice, he turns towards the man in the bed, who's shaking now, almost violently, Cho watches as his gaze flicks down to the paper and with a very shake grip he writes out.

I – I don't know, I forgot, the memories gone, he pauses, I, He scribbles over it, his motions with sharp and on edge; the words rushing out onto the paper. I met Red John and I can't even remember who he is – I. His hands continue to shake and for a moment he worries he really is going to be sick.


His head snaps up and he stares at Cho for a moment and then words are flying from his lips; anger, hatred, everything that's been boiling underneath the surface and he'd kept a lid on it all; kept the pot tucked away carefully in the kitchen, away from everyone else in the room and now it's somehow fallen over and spilled all over the floor.

It takes him nearly five minutes to realize that Cho can't hear him; that he's only watching the breakdown; and then he snaps his jaw shut and leans back into the bed and struggles to control his breathing, and watches to his distant horror how Cho walks around to the other side of his bed; to where the liquid baggie holding the sedatives and the button to release it remains.

He snatches up the notebook again.

Cho, don't you dare.

"You almost just gave yourself a heart attack, Jane." He states.

And yeah, I'm fine now. No need for the sedative.

Cho stares at him for several seconds and then turns away; his gaze moving to one of the machines, the line that holds his pulse throbs angrily, and to prove a point, that he is fine; he works on calming its pace.

He relaxes once more when Cho steps away from the machine and then walks around the bed once more and takes a seat in a chair a few feet away; however, that doesn't stop his mind from still reeling with thoughts; Why isn't he pushing harder to find out who Red John is?

His mind offers up the answer that it may be because he doesn't even know himself anymore but he knows that isn't it; Cho would normally still question him, with the slightest suspicion in his tone that he suspects he isn't sharing that info because he plans on tracking down Red John himself and killing him himself (and he knows Cho would be against that, so he wouldn't let him get away with it).

But that may as well be ruled out by the fact he's sitting in a hospital bed with major injuries and incapable of going after a serial killer.

"You're still thinking about it. Stop thinking about it, Jane."

He jumps slightly, glancing over at Cho; who remains impassive as ever, staring out the window across the room, having taken a seat in an empty chair a few feet away.

Okay, care to pick a topic that we can discuss? He writes on the notepad and extends his arm to Cho with it in hand, his eyes scan over it.

"That's the worst possible way to start a conversation."

Jane grins and withdraws his arm, placing the notepad in his lap.

"We could discuss what you said to Lisbon." Cho offers after a few moments of silence.

That's personal.

"You're not going to deny it?"

It's personal.

"It's one of those days."

And he's right; it's one of those days where the lines between personal life and work blurs and fades away, where the walls crumble; leaving everything out in the open, leaving no where left to hide; where there are no more lies and only truths are spoken.

It's just one of those days, he agrees silently, focusing on the thought he begins to write his response for Cho's choice of discussion.


I won't be surprised if people are a tad upset by the length of this chapter, with it being the monster that it is, at least by my standards; but I can assure you if this story continues the chapters will be closer to 10,000 rather than 15,000+ This one was only so long because it was the first one.

And as far as writing this goes, I was kind of testing the water with this first chapter; if enough people like it, I'll continue it, if not I'll mark I as complete.

But I like to think this could go somewhere.

And this is for my own personal musing, I had a scene in mind, well more of a statement that I wrote whilst writing this, only to go back and delete it, and here it is; It took place between the lines:

But she sure isn't.

* * * * * *

The next few minutes happen as though she isn't in her body;

Here's the deleted statement;

In Heaven, each human soul is given a single Grace; a Grace is the chance to act with those who are still alive on earth, to manipulate things. For example, a girl named Susie Salmon used her grace to blow out the still alive candle in her father's study long after he had left to the site where she was murdered; where he later gets beat to a pulp for being mistaken as something truly awful. Another example, is a girl named Alison, her last name long forgotten to the world, caused a meadow of daisies to bloom outside a small town in Maine.

And so on the morning of March 19th, 2013, Angela and Charlotte Jane used their graces to make sure the people that Patrick Jane, loving husband and father, still very much alive, loved survived the explosion caused by a trap the devil himself had made and laid for the angel that had fallen and few that hadn't, (but surely were and would fall for the one who already had).

And they did [survive], and so did he.

I took that out because it was more of a poem, and the only reason I am sharing it is because I'm rather proud of that, it's what inspired me to write this and on another note due to a review I got on Posthumously, I am not a religious person but I still like to write works "dealing" with it.

Anyway, I'd love it if you left a review letting me know what you thought of this and if it should be continued.