Author's note: First of all- this is not a happy piece. At all. Take it from the person who sobbed while writing it. Just a warning ;)
Now that we've gotten that out of the way. I know this isn't really an appropriate day to post such a thing (btw, Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it!), but I found it in my computer and decided to post it. I know it's sad, but I am hoping you'll enjoy it (maybe?) anyway. So, yeah. Read it if you'd like and tell me what you thought, if you have the time!
Disclaimer: I don't own The Mentalist or any of its characters, just a bunch of chocolate and DVDs which will soon join me in a TM marathon.
Red John had managed to elude them all once again.
Lorelei had caved in eventually, revealing the identity of the man she believed to be Patrick Jane's nemesis.
Turns out that she had been mistaken.
Lorelei had known the real Red John, of that Teresa had no doubt- the terrifyingly cunning man had simply been one step ahead of them as usual, shielding his true identity from perhaps one of his closest servants.
So here they were again, after one more failed attempt to end the decade-long chase.
As she stood by her team in front of Lorelei Martins' mutilated body, Teresa Lisbon looked back at her consultant, almost breaking at the dulled light in his eyes and the latest defeated expression that covered his face.
She didn't dare tell him the words he had heard countless times before, choosing instead to touch him lightly on the arm, hoping that it would convey what she felt.
"Next time, we'll get him."
No, she wouldn't repeat that phrase again.
After all, Teresa hated breaking promises, and she knew that this one might be one that she wouldn't be able to keep.
Rigsby was the first from their little family to become collateral damage to Patrick Jane's obsession.
It happened about a year after Lorelei's death and Teresa's realization that maybe, just maybe, she would spend her entire life chasing this monster and fail at every turn.
They had been working on another case, investigating young Morgan Turner's disappearance and most probable murder. Everything had been as normal as it got in the midst of a homicide investigation and Teresa had left to interview a promising suspect, with Jane in tow, after sending Rigsby to one location and Cho to another while Van Pelt was left at the office, frantically looking for other leads.
As a leader, Lisbon hated sending her agents into the field alone- you never knew what might happen, after all. However, the racing clock and the chance to save Morgan's life, slim as it might have been, served as justifications in her mind that she was doing the right thing in sending out her boys by themselves.
Rigsby's call made her hopeful that he had discovered the girl's whereabouts but his next words stopped her cold, throwing her into an adrenaline rush soon after.
"Boss, I…I think I just found something. About Red John."
She had followed his directions quickly; arriving at the abandoned warehouse in about half the time it should have taken her to get there.
Jane rushed from the car, Teresa close behind.
Both stopped when they saw Cho, hunched over and heaving, and detected the sickengly sweet smell of blood.
The smiley face that greeted them as soon as they stepped through the warehouse door seemed more terrifying and ominous than usual.
She didn't look at Jane, sinking down to her knees and not attempting to mask her tears.
Teresa never found out what had driven her brave Rigsby to the warehouse in the first place, and she certainly never found out what he had discovered there.
What she did realize, though, was that there was no turning back now.
She would continue chasing Red John and she would get him- even if it were the last thing she did.
Sweet Grace had gone soon after, and Teresa felt terrible in thinking that maybe it had been for the best.
After Rigsby's sudden murder, Van Pelt had become inconsolable- just like the rest of them, of course- but her sadness never seemed to fade, not even to offer a few minutes of respite. Instead, her grief doubled by the day and she morphed into nothing short of a robot.
Grace came into work every day, always on time. She would sit at her desk, staring into space until Lisbon told her what to do. What leads to chase, what background checks to run, what suspects to call in for interviews.
Cho's quiet but sincere support didn't seem to alleviate any of her pain, and Jane's tricks and jokes seemed to have no effect on her mood.
The only things that kept Grace Van Pelt alive were her mindless dedication to her job and her unwavering drive to find out what her dead lover had discovered in that abandoned warehouse.
Teresa had tried everything to make the younger woman feel better- she had attempted to convince her to get some help, had gone with her on countless searches of the place where Rigsby had been killed, and had even offered to move in with her subordinate for a while, only to get her back on her own two feet.
Van Pelt, undoubtedly realizing how much effort it must have taken her private and practical boss to suggest such a thing, had offered her a small smile in return, turning her down because she'd rather be alone.
Lisbon understood what the other woman was going through; losing one's other half was an experience that not many survived and she knew that, if Patrick Jane were to die before her, she would also become broken beyond recognition.
Teresa had been scared that her friend would be driven to take her own life, but was comforted by Van Pelt's determination to catch Red John- with that to cling to, she knew that Grace would not falter.
Grace Van Pelt's body was found at the CBI Headquarters a few months later.
It turned out that she had found something, after all, and Red John had seized his chance and taken her away from them too.
She was the first one to find her, soon followed by Cho. He made no sound, simply moving his chair close to Grace's cold body and gripping her lifeless hand in his while moisture pooled in his eyes.
Jane walked in a few minutes later, dropping the fresh brewed coffees he had brought from the coffee cart to try and cheer up the rest of them.
Lisbon, tears staining her blouse in a steady flow, found herself supporting her consultant while he seemed to break before her eyes. He saw this as one more death he could blame himself with.
She only saw it as one more reason to catch the bastard before he took the rest of her family from her.
She couldn't fake surprise when Cho's body was found.
As much as it pained her to think it, Teresa had known that her second in command would be taken from her eventually, like everyone else seemed to be.
And she hadn't been able to stop it from happening, again.
This time, Cho wasn't killed because he had found a clue about the mysterious serial killer. She supposed it was possible that he had indeed found something and just hadn't had time to tell her or Jane, but the mere weeks separating his murder from Grace's suggested that Red John had reached the end of his patience and was now trying to end his game- whatever that was.
Her dear friend was found bloodied and battered in his apartment, clutching a phone in his white knuckles.
Blood was spattered everywhere and she couldn't help but think that Red John was being more theatrical of late.
He wanted to finish his torture of Patrick Jane in a spectacular fashion, it seemed.
And tortured he was.
She arrived at Cho's apartment first, hurrying out of bed after being woken by the frantic ringing of her cellphone at two in the morning. In her haste, she forgot to call Jane, only remembering to do so once she had been in her car and on her way to the crime scene.
When her consultant stumbled through the door, he didn't even look at his friend's corpse, just hurried directly toward her and pulled her into his arms, while wracking sobs and paralyzing pain consumed both.
Kimball Cho had been a good friend and loyal ally to Teresa Lisbon all her life, and she found that she didn't know what to do anymore.
She had failed her team, all of them. Only Jane was left and she knew that she needed to protect him at all costs.
She couldn't lose him too.
Even though they still tried everything to find leads to Red John, the serial killer had become invisible once again. He had always been invisible, only rearing his head to strike, quickly returning to the shadows after the harm had been done.
After Cho was murdered, Patrick seemed to realize that her days were numbered as well.
He finally confessed his feelings, which lead to the inevitable tangle of sheets and limbs in her bed soon after.
They had hidden their feelings for so long that, when they were finally free to admit everything they felt for each other, they were overcome and taken over by the wave of love and want.
In the midst of such tragedy, they had lived a few months in blissful happiness and contentment, even if they had been forced to keep their relationship a secret from the rest of the world.
Patrick was convinced that, once he had admitted his love, she had been put into even more danger, and he would not risk her life in order to share with everyone how happy he was.
Not that he had many people to share it with, now that the rest of their makeshift family was gone.
Teresa knew that Patrick's death was her fault.
She knew Red John had meant to kill her instead, in order to make the poor man suffer for the last time- for she knew, without a doubt, that Patrick Jane would not have been able to survive this latest tragedy.
And that was the reason why, while she gathered his broken and bloody body in her arms, she was glad.
Glad that she hadn't been killed instead.
Not because she wished to live now that Patrick Jane had been taken away from her- she knew that she would never live again, not without him by her side.
She was glad because she would survive this long enough to chase him down. While Patrick would not have survived her death, she had survived his.
But when she touched her lips to his cold ones and rested her head over his silent heart, she looked over at the dripping caricature of a smiley face that now served as decoration for her bedroom, and swore that she would get him.
One day, she would find Red John.
And then, finally, she would rest.
She felt the knife pierce the skin of her abdomen and screamed.
It was a scream that stood for many things- pain, obviously. Teresa Lisbon was sure she had never felt anything like it, and the only ache that rivaled this one was each time she lost a piece of her heart to Red John as he mindlessly killed all of those she loved.
Hatred- so much of it that she felt she might die from the sheer feeling of it coursing through her body. She now knew what they had all gone through- the pain and suffering he had inflicted on every single one of them.
And last of all, it was a scream of happiness- she had finally caught him, all on her own, and she would be damned if she let him kill her too.
If she had encountered anyone after the confrontation, she would not have been able to tell him or her what had really taken place.
Red John had almost killed her, she knew.
Teresa Lisbon had almost admitted defeat, knowing that she couldn't fight him off on her own, that she wasn't strong enough.
That was when she had remembered her family- slaughtered by this animal.
And she had found strength somewhere, she wasn't sure where, and drove the knife into his heart.
As she made her way into the cemetery in the early morning hours, thanking God that there was no one else around for they would have certainly called the cops to arrest the bloody madwoman walking the streets, Teresa felt happiness that she hadn't felt since Patrick Jane had last been a part of her life, years ago.
She walked the paths of the cemetery, barely realizing where she was going- she had been there so many times in the past several years that her feet knew the way on their own.
Sitting down in front of his grave, she placed her head in her hands and wept.
She wept for Angela and Charlotte, whom she had never known but had learned to love regardless; for Bosco and all of the others Red John had killed. She cried for Rigsby, and Grace, and Cho- her brave little family who had never let her down, whom she had trusted with her life.
And, lastly, she wept for Patrick Jane- the only man she had ever truly loved, the only person she had felt truly happy with.
"I got him." Her sobs had subsided enough and she could finally tell him the words she had been yearning to say since the first time he had walked into the CBI and her life. "I got him, Patrick."
Smiling, for the first time in what felt like years, she touched the stone in front of her and traced his name with her fingertips.
Leaning back, she felt the soft grass beneath her body and sighed blissfully.
Her task was accomplished- she had rid the world of Red John and done what she had promised herself she would when the first piece of her family had been ripped away.
As blackness surrounded her and she lost her ability to breathe, Teresa Lisbon smiled.
She could finally rest.