It all happens so fast. Suddenly Cardwell is grabbing Jane and spinning him around, he pulls him close to him with an arm around his chest. A familiar click confirms her worst fears and stills the hand that has automatically reached to her side, a gun's pressed against Jane's temple.
"Ow, be careful."
Her insufferable consultant exclaims. He looks to her.
"Lisbon do something."
Cardwell takes charge.
" Take out your gun slowly and remove the bullets, letting them fall to the floor and throw your gun in to the bushes."
Lisbon sees no way out but can she take the chance that this desperate man will release Jane once he's clear. Cardwell pushes the gun harder in to the side of Jane's head and puts pressure on the trigger. Jane winces and tries to move away.
"Lisbon do as he says. I'll be fine, he doesn't want to hurt me, he just wants to get away."
He gives her a reassuring smile. She takes out her gun. Cardwell increases the pressure even more.
"That's very good. Don't do anything stupid, because, I can assure you your friend here will be dead before I am."
Lisbon empties her gun and throws it away.
"Excellent. Now handcuff yourself behind your back and lay on the ground."
She lowers herself carefully. She can only see their feet now. She hears Cardwell give instructions to Jane.
"Slowly take out your car keys...Now we're going to move to your car. Don't do anything stupid as there's no one to save you and I may shoot your colleague as well."
Lisbon watches as their feet walk away and they get into Jane's car. For once it starts up straight away. As the car pulls out Lisbon manoeuvres herself back on to her feet and she watches it turn the corner out of sight. She runs to the house next door and throws her body at it until help comes.
This became different from the other times Jane's been kidnapped, where they found him after a couple of days. Cardwell didn't release Jane once he was free and clear. He kept him for a week, carrying him blindfolded in the trunk, changing cars and direction constantly, finally dumping him, drugged, out in the wilderness, leaving him to find his own way out. Luckily although Jane may not be the 'outdoor' type, he's read enough books that he has the knowledge in his memory palace to help him navigate his way out. Two weeks after his abduction Jane made it to civilization, found badly sunburnt, exhausted, starving and dehydrated, lying in a heap at the side of the highway, but alive, and Lisbon was a wreck.
Sacramento was sealed within thirty minutes of Lisbon being released from her handcuffs and an APB being sent out over the airwaves with a description of the Citroen and instructions to block the roads. but it was too late Cardwell and Jane had gone.
The team forgoed sleep, digging for information of possible hideouts, and speaking to family,friends and associates. Every possible lead followed up and chased down but Cardwell, along with his captive had disappeared. As the days turned into a week, no one said it out loud, but their thoughts turned to finding a body. There was no reason for Jane to be kept alive, no ransom being demanded, no history between the two discovered, Jane's continued absence meant he was probably dead, and buried somewhere he may never be found.
Lisbon tried to remain positive as they entered the second week and for the first few days, she felt she was successful, but the continued dead ends, the lack of clues and information, the sight of the green mug never leaving it's place on the drainer, the emptiness of the beloved leather couch and the irritating silence, all succeeded in dragging her to her knees, weighed down by her own crushing guilt. It became almost impossible for her to function and she hid herself in her office, reliving the scene, conjuring up all the things she should have done differently. Contemplating her future, her badge and gun feeling uncomfortable on her body. Then the call came.
Lisbon is sat by his bedside, holding on to his hand to keep her in reality, the feel of his skin against hers letting her know it's not a dream. Jane's not going to be happy when he wakes up and takes a look at himself. His face is blotchy and the burnt patches look angry and painful. His hair is brittle and much lighter, his hands rough and cut up. To Lisbon he's never looked more beautiful. He,s here, he's alive, that's all that counts, that's all that matters.
The doctor says he's a lucky man, another few hours and they wouldn't have been able to save him. He needs rest, fluids, nutrients. and treatment for his burns. He's bruised and battered but nothing broken.
A croaky voice interrupts her thoughts.
"A penny for them."
She sees Jane smiling at her.
"That would be highway robbery."
"Well that's nice, you were obviously thinking about me. I'm missing, presumed dead, for days...
Realization halts him.
" I have no idea what day it is. How long have I been missing?"
Jane lets out a breath.
"Wow I had no idea it was that long."
Jane notices the glistening in Lisbon's eyes, evidence of the torment she's endured during those two weeks.
The time spent rolling around in trunks of cars and walking his way out of the wilderness had given him plenty of time to think about things. His life, his mistakes, the people he's cared about, his death. The biggest and most disturbing revelation had been Teresa Lisbon. He remembers the moment he saw everything in clarity. He'd been so surprised he'd lost his footing and tumbled down a steep bank landing in some prickly bushes and hitting his head on a rock. He'd been stunned, but wasn't sure if it was caused by the rock or the realization that he was in love with Teresa Lisbon.
He couldn't say when it happened, he couldn't find any holes in his defences. He attempted to deny it and then to ignore it, but as the hours went on and delirium began to threaten at the corners of his mind, Lisbon became his anchor to reality. The force that fueled his every torturous step, the strength that held him upright when every fibre of his being wanted him to curl up and await his fate. An invisible cord connected them together and Lisbon was pulling him in, ever closer to her, to safety, to home.
As he looked at her now he knew she'd had the same revelation. There was a shyness, a hesitancy in the way she looked at him, as if she had something to hide.
Realization hit Lisbon in the car on the way to the hospital. She couldn't remember the details of the phone call. Only that Jane was found and that he's alive. She was in her car, the lights flashing and the siren wailing, softly praying. Her hand straying to her cross. Prayer of thanks, of vows to keep promises made and declarations of love. She couldn't deny it any longer, the feelings of relief, of joy, of being whole again, made it impossible. She realized that she had fought so hard against it, burying it down deep, refusing to acknowledged the truth, to accept it or want it. He's not ready to move on, she's not ready to entrust her heart. What a mess!
What a mess! It breaks his heart, but he can't risk it, risk her. Demons have to be dealt with, real and imagined. The danger is tangible, it has a name, a purpose and when it comes, she can't be too close.
As she looks in to his eyes, she sees it, just for a moment it was there. The mask covers but her heart is warm.
She squeezes his hand, not another word is said.
Author's nnotes: Feel free to review. I would love to hear your thoughts