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First story in the Crimson & Gold series (LJ | AO3)
By Clarity (enmuse)
Fandom: The Mentalist (Pairing: light Cho/Jane)
Usual disclaimers apply, this is by a fan to share with other fans.
Rating: Teen
Words: ~1,800
Summary: Spoilers through S2 finale (Immediately after the episode...) Jane attempts to deal with the fallout.
Recent Edit: Jan. 18, 2014


Terrified barely began to cover Jane's reaction to Kristina's reckless behavior — her betrayal. The television clip played over and over again in his mind but the words he heard came from six years back in his own voice. Reckless, naive, foolish idiot. He tried to cling to anger, scrambled for it in a desperate attempt to avoid drowning in an all too familiar nightmare.

He should have been furious at Kristina over the newswoman's death. Instead horror overwhelmed other emotions with the unshakable sense of dread because he knew what would come next. Without the interference of others, without a human obstacle between himself and Red John, he could live off the unwavering, cold desire for revenge. But Kristina had gotten in the way and he was hit with a wave of fear.

Much of Jane's concern centered on Kristina, but the terror that ate at him and made him feel physically ill was knowing what Red John could do with the information she had. He'd seen the possibilities again and again, staring at case files and looking into the unseeing eyes of victims. His wife. His child. Kristina knew about his connections. She read people almost as well as Jane, and that skill had given her more insight into his life than he was comfortable with. He could have continued to tolerate the discomfort, but knowing that she was under Red John's shadow was unbearable because Jane knew that eventually certain truths would slip. If it happened again, if Jane had to look at a dead body wearing the face of someone he cared for... He couldn't allow himself to imagine it, the mere suggestion set his stomach churning.

Not so long ago he would have said that he had nothing left to lose. He had gone on living after his family's murder, but as a different man with one goal in life. Somewhere along the way he had picked up the baggage of other people's company. His connections weren't supposed to become so important to him, he was supposed to stay focused on the ultimate plan, bide his time for the opportunity to strike. Instead he found Lisbon to be the best friend (and bossy sister) he never had. He had Rigsby and Van Pelt, significant friendships in their turn. He had Cho. He had let the blinders slip.

It shouldn't have meant much, sex with Cho. It started casual, it was casual. Friendly romps, a way to keep connected to life when bad cases would disrupt their sense of balance; a reminder that they were not alone; a way to give and take comfort. It had been simple, basic, supposedly without other ties. For God's sake, Cho had been dating; yet the key word there was "had" — as in, past tense. Something that had started with no strings attached settled in and gained root until deeper emotions formed.

Not that Jane had said anything, not verbally. Cho might not read people with the quick accuracy of Jane or Kristina, but he had seen far enough into Jane's actions in the past few months to break off the relationship with his girlfriend. A space in the closet at Cho's apartment remained clear for Jane's clothes. Jane's favorite teas were stocked in the cupboard.

Now Kristina, with all her knowledge, was at the mercy of Red John, the man as obsessed with Jane as Jane was with him.

Jane paced the length of the bullpen, hands clenched into fists in his pockets. He ignored the stares he attracted, almost so lost in himself as to forget that he wasn't alone. He kept seeing Kristina's serene smile, kept hearing her words dismissing his worry. Reckless stupidity. Jane hated it and had thought her above that. How wrong he'd been. If the CBI were to turn up her body anytime soon, he didn't know how he would react. Anger simmered under the surface but it was a poor cover for his fear; and for all that he felt betrayed, part of him was already mourning for Kristina Frye. She would outlive her usefulness and entertainment value, Jane knew. As much as he wished he could claim arrogance for believing Red John directed attention at him alone, well, he knew he had made himself the ultimate target. He didn't usually think about it, but he knew that Red John saw him not only as an adversary, but as a project — someone to study and attempt to alter.

His wife, his beautiful wife. His child, his daughter. So very, very young. And that fucking red smile. The bastard had used their blood.

"Jane!" It wasn't Lisbon's voice that caught his attention, it was her hand landing firmly on his shoulder. He sucked in a startled breath and her frown deepen. "Come on, you need to get out of here."

He shook his head. He easily slipped from her grasp and faced her straight-on, presenting his best semblance of calm. She couldn't really see through it, but she knew him well enough to know he wouldn't give her any obvious signs of distress.

"Jane..." she started, voice firm but gentle. "I'm not sure you should go home alone." It went unspoken that he would not allow anyone to come with him. No one stepped foot in his house anymore. He still had his lawn service and there had been the security updates over the years — the employees thoroughly vetted before coming by -- but otherwise his home remained his alone.

"He won't come by," Jane replied. "Red John has what he came for. It doesn't matter what you try to do now, he won't show himself so soon. He has her now." He realized too late that he'd raised his voice. Lisbon stood strong but he read the surprise in her expression. There was no way for the rest of the team to fake distraction any longer. In his peripheral vision he could see the others staring at him.

Lisbon kept her voice low but it was clear she didn't care whether the others heard. "You can't know for sure he's gone, Jane. We'll keep looking, every law enforcement agency in California has been notified of Kristina's kidnapping." She sighed and reached out again. This time Jane evaded her touch.

"It doesn't matter," he repeated. He looked at the others, each in turn. "Kristina will provide him with entertainment. She has information, inside information he probably didn't have. But she's not invaluable and she'll outlive her usefulness."

"Jane..." Van Pelt gasped quietly. He met her wide-eyed stare without blinking. He could imagine her dead eyes, emotion gone, her vibrant spark of life banished. Soulless.

They needed to understand. Even after all this time, they didn't comprehend.

"Stop it," Lisbon snapped, her lips tightening in anger. Jane didn't meet her stare, his gaze roaming around the office to take in Lisbon's team — his team. She continued, "I know he's fooled us before. I know he's one tricky son of a bitch and it's not going to be easy to take him. But he is going down, Jane, and I'll be damned if I let you give into some fatalistic prediction!"

Jane's chest tightened, something twisting painfully beneath his ribs. "It's not some false vision, Teresa," he said, voice low to keep his tone steady. "I've seen it. He's touched me, metaphorically and literally, now. It's not some giant leap of the imagination to predict that in all likelihood the next time we see Kristina Frye, she'll either have fallen under Red John's control or she'll be dead."

"Damn it, Jane!" Lisbon moved too fast for him to avoid her grasp. Her hands tightened around his elbows and she shook him, her expression of anger now tinged with fear. Looking into her eyes, he knew that she realized he was likely speaking the truth. "You need to stop."

He was willing to back off with his message had been received, but he needed a minute more. "You need to understand," he said at a volume that made it clear he was addressing the team as a whole, "that taking Kristina means that he's ready to move closer." He stepped away from Lisbon and looked at Van Pelt, Rigsby, and finally, Cho. "You are the closest connections I have;" and he would never have admitted it aloud except for its current necessity. "As such, you are targets."

"We know that," Rigsby said, his fidgeting suggested he'd been trying to hold his tongue for some time. "We've known that and we're not backing off."

Jane brought up a hand to cut off anything else. "Not like this. Kristina's good. Everything she knows will be at Red John's disposal. It isn't the same game anymore."

"Doesn't change our minds," Van Pelt defended, her stubbornness clear in the tilt of her chin and the light in her eyes.

Lisbon nodded slowly. "We get it, Jane. He's just gained a whole new resource for insight. He's gotten more bold, has had a taste of it. Who do you think you're dealing with?" she asked with a weak smile in her attempt to joke, "Amateurs?"

Jane answered seriously, "Kristina didn't care."

Cho finally spoke and there was a certain inflection in his tone that Jane recognized was meant for him alone. "We know, and we tried to stop her. It isn't your fault."

"I know," Jane answered too quickly. No one called him on it.

A few minutes passed before some of the tension finally eased. Van Pelt made her way to her desk and began to pack up for the night. Lisbon let out a sigh and rubbed a hand over her eyes before offering, "You can come crash on my couch."

He didn't want that. He didn't want to be near anyone, not right then when he still felt so raw. But he knew neither Lisbon nor Cho would let him get away on his own tonight, so he declined Lisbon's offer with a soft, "I don't need to." Her expression remained neutral as she nodded and walked away. Jane didn't glance at Cho, knowing that the other man would have figured out Jane's intention.

Still craving some distance, Jane exited the office and took the stairs down to the first floor. When he reached the parking lot he wandered over to Cho's car and leaned against it to stare up at the sky. The moon was full and heavily tinted an orange-red. Harvest Moon, sometimes mistakenly called the Hunter's Moon. People took photos on a night like this, shared the images with others and ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the beautiful natural phenomenon. Jane stared at it without blinking, waiting for his eyes to tire and water. He'd never seen the supposed "man in the moon" but looking now, he could see a goddamn smiling face.


Notes: I am so royally pissed at Kristina. I was growling at my TV, no lie, and cursing her out. >:(


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
Aww, poor Jane. But yay for Jane/Cho :)

I especially liked how you described Jane and Lisbon's friendship - a bossy sister indeed - and how Jane is a project to Red John, not just an adversary.

Any chance of a sequel where Cho, ahem, "comforts" Jane? ;)
Aug. 16th, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
♥ Thanks for the lovely review. :) And yes, I love the Jane-Lisbon dynamic. They have an interesting balance, don't they? (And boy does Lisbon put up with so much BS because of Jane, lol.)

and how Jane is a project to Red John, not just an adversary.
Well if you think about it... The focus on Jane and the pursuit of tormenting him seems to indicate a sense of investment, you know? I'm not sure how to explain it, but it's very eerie and gives me chills. :<

I am working at rewriting bits of/finishing a fic with amusement and smexiness. I'm traveling this week so maybe I can actually get things situated while at the airport & on planes. :3
Aug. 17th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
Ok, so I'm loving the way you wrote this - Jane's inner dialog was perfect :) I was so annoyed with Kristina at the season's end, so I really like what you did here. And I hope you write more! :D
Aug. 17th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
(bahahahaha your icon! lolz)

I'm furious at Kristina. I was watching the episodes with my mother, since I tend to catch-up when I visit, and even though I knew I was making a food of myself - I was cursing at the TV. >.< So angry at the lady, drrr. I would kind of be interested in continuing in this vein, so who knows? Right now my attention is on a much more lighthearted and lightly kinky story for these two. :p I have plans to work on it while traveling tomorrow (although it's always awkward to be writing sex scenes in my notebook while on a plane... o.0 But I will persevere! lol)
Aug. 17th, 2010 12:45 pm (UTC)
Aw, poor Jane :(
Aug. 18th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC)
I see you decided to actually check it out! :) Yay for giving even the angsty-ish thing a try. ;D

Aug. 18th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
But of course! :)

(it helps that I know that smut joy is coming!
Sep. 21st, 2010 06:43 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this story, great job! ( I would write specifically I enjoyed, but I'm tired and on pain pills and can't think.lol)
Sep. 21st, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you for stopping by to comment! :) I'm trying to work on more Mentalist fic to share. <3
Oct. 2nd, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow. This was awesome. I don't read a whole lot of Mentalist fic, so I don't have much to compare it to, but you do a great Jane. And Lisbon. And everyone else. And... Yeah, I'm heading on to the sequel.
Oct. 2nd, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)

Thank you so much! I do have some recs for fic if you're looking for more.
Oct. 2nd, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
*rubs hands together gleefully*
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )