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Roses Are Red
Fifth and final story in the Crimson & Gold series (LJ | AO3)
By Clarity Enmuse
Fandom: The Mentalist
Pairings: Cho/Jane, (Rigsby/Van Pelt)
Usual disclaimers apply. Written by a fan, for other fans.
Rating: Mature
Warnings: torture (mostly psychological) & violence. *To be extra safe, highlight
death of canon character (non-team), unwanted fondling *
Words:
Summary: A few months after the events of "Red Light," Red John makes his presence known as Jane makes an important decision regarding his relationship with Cho. Anniversaries, reunions, kidnapping, and intrigue.

Notes: This is the fifth and final story of the Crimson & Gold series. You don't have to read the others for this to work, but some of the back-story will make better sense with the setup provided therein.

I dislike Kristina, as you probably know from the earlier Crimson & Gold stories. Even so, I hope I didn't wander into the territory of character-bashing, that certainly wasn't the intention.

This completely disregards season 3 everything after season 2 since most of it was written before I saw any of S3. Nothing here draws from S3 canon except for the names of Angela and Charlotte Jane. I've largely avoided spoilers so if there's any similarities, it's honest coincidence. (That said, I know what canon does with Kristina and it irritates me to no end. So in a way this story gave me a way to "fix it.")

Recent Edit: Jan. 19, 2014


ONE

"Is there some reason you insisted on driving? And told me I had to wear my suit jacket?" Cho kept his voice even, but he was sure Jane could hear his suspicion.

The blond's lips quirked up at the corners in a smug expression Cho recognized as Jane enjoying keeping others in the dark. With an almost silent sigh, Cho settled back in his seat and tilted his face to the window. They turned onto a frontage road, avoiding the worst of the traffic on the late Thursday afternoon.

A few minutes later Cho tried again; "Where are we going?"

Jane's smile broadened into a grin. "It's a surprise, why do you think I insisted on driving?" he replied.

Rolling his eyes, Cho made a show of examining the dashboard clock. "How long is this going to take?"

"Got a hot date?" Jane teased.

Exasperated, Cho turned to glare but was caught off-guard by Jane's affectionate expression. Although their eye contact did not last long due to Jane's need to keep an eye on the road, Cho felt a jolt of desire sparked by the brief exchange. Not a "you're so sexy I want to jump you right here a now" way, but something deeper, a sort of longing that made his chest ache; it was the feeling of being on the cusp of completion.

"Well? Are we on some schedule?" Jane's voice broke the silence.

Cho quietly cleared his throat and muttered, "Just wanted to lay low for the night."

Jane cast him a secretive look and then reached over to place his hand on Cho's thigh. The blond turned his gaze back to the road while his fingertips rubbed along the inseam of Cho's pants. "Don't worry."

Those words coming from Patrick usually meant he should be worried, but this time Cho decided he could take them at face value.

Over thirty minutes later Jane turned into a curved lane that led into a parking lot filled with spotless cars. Cho sat up and looked around to get a feel for the place, noticing immediately the sign for valet parking and the awning covering the short, broad flight of steps leading into a sleek-looking stone building.

Amici Ristorante was written out in fancy, nearly illegible script on the front of the awning. Two valet attendants dressed in pristine white, black, and red uniforms stood nearby.

Jane pulled into a parking spot and turned off the engine. "Here we are." The smile he turned on Cho fell short of cocky and there was a hint of anxiousness in the blond's gaze.

Automatically Cho felt himself smiling reassuringly even though he couldn't understand why they were there. "Got a date?" he echoed the tease from earlier.

Jane patted Cho's thigh in silent reply before exiting the car. Suppressing a pleased smile, Cho followed Jane's example.

As Jane led the way to the restaurant's entrance, Cho smoothed his jacket and straightened his tie, suddenly wondering if he was properly dressed for what was apparently an upscale place. With his salary, he rarely went for the expensive tastes though the job had taken him to upscale places for numerous investigations. Jane, however, seemed in his element as they passed into the entryway where a couple couches and settees decorated what appeared to be marble flooring.

Jane approached the maître de and spoke quietly. Cho stood just far enough away that he couldn't clearly hear the exchange, but observation proved that they were on the list. With a gesture, the maître de summoned a smartly dressed attendant to lead them through an archway and into the dining area.

"What is all this?" Cho muttered out of the side of his mouth, gaze jumping from table to table to the fine art on the walls and the patio beyond the large glass doors where they were being led.

Jane shrugged casually as they approached a small table set beside the elegantly designed wrought iron fence separating the patio from the sloping garden beyond. They sat and accepted menus from their attendant.

Cho watched Jane open his menu, heard the order for a bottle of wine, and then they were left alone. He stared at his lover trying to piece together what was going on.

Patrick met his stare and there was a hint of embarrassment in his half-smile.

Neither of them spoke until the wine came and glasses were poured. When they were alone again, Cho asked gently, "Why are you doing this?"

Jane seemed to focus on running his finger along the stem of his wineglass. "I wasn't sure whether it mattered to you or not..." he said quietly.

Cho looked down at the cover of his menu with a thoughtful frown. Clearly he should know what this was about but...

They had work tomorrow yet they were out on a Thursday evening. More specifically, Jane was taking him on an expensive date. A date. Special occasion.

The moment he made the connection, Cho's gaze snapped to Jane's face. The blond had clearly been watching him and when their eyes met, Jane slowly smiled. Cho could see the cautiousness in Jane's posture and felt overwhelmed.

It took a few tries for him to finally speak. "I didn't really think..." Cho shook his head slowly in wonder. He had few occasions over the years to keep track of any anniversaries and it certainly hadn't occurred to him that Jane would hold such time markers with much regard. The idea of "celebrating" an anniversary with Patrick had never crossed Cho's mind; it wasn't something he thought to equate with his lover.

He reached across the table, briefly resting his hand over Jane's wrist. "Thank you," he murmured.

Jane's smile regained its full, dazzling confidence and he nodded to the menu. "Now about dinner..."


The food was delicious but Cho knew he would have to turn down any dessert on account of a full stomach. Jane smoothly cut in during the waiter's inquisition about dessert by requesting something to take home. Cho shook his head in amusement.

The waiter returned with the boxed dessert and cheque. Somehow in the short amount of time between Cho nodding a thank you to the waiter and having the man retreat a respectable distance, Jane had grabbed the cheque and slid a familiar shaped package in front of Cho.

"Jane..." Kimball started, trailing off when he realized he had no idea what to say. It had taken him a while to get comfortable with the rather opulent setting for their anniversary dinner (and it still felt surreal thinking that), he could hardly conceive of the cost for the meal itself, but then Jane had added a gift?

Jeez, I didn't think we would do anything...

Jane frowned at him knowingly. "Don't over-analyze."

Cho laughed quietly, unsure how else to deal with the nervous flutter in his stomach. Shrugging to himself, he unwrapped the package and opened the slim box. The watch that lay inside was far less ostentatious than the monstrosities Jane had bought from a casino gift shop a couple years ago. He doubted this was much less expensive, though; the understated elegance bespoke of hand craftsmanship.

The waiter appeared at the table to accept the cheque and as he walked away, Jane leaned forward to pick up the watch. He beckoned for Cho's hand and silently Kimball complied. He felt a little ridiculous as he let Jane slide the watch onto his wrist, but the brush of fingertips against the sensitive underside of his arm sent a jolt of arousal straight down his spine. He glanced up to meet Jane's gaze and saw an answering spark of desire.

Quietly Jane teased, "It would be embarrassing for a CBI agent to get a public indecency charge."

"Then we should get out of here," Cho returned.

Jane glanced over his shoulder toward their waiter who was moving across the flagstone at a sedate pace. Cho grabbed Jane's arm in silent warning not to make a scene. He could just imagine Jane waving the man down impatiently so they could get out the door a few seconds quicker. Patrick just smirked as he accepted the receipt and stood. He had taken two steps away before reminding Cho, "Don't forget the dessert."

---


Two Months Later

Teresa Lisbon walked into her office and promptly searched for the ibuprofen in the desk's top drawer. The headache she had hoped would go away after her morning coffee had failed to abate. She wasn't ready to give up on the caffeine yet, but she was determined to cut off the headache before it could overwhelm her. With that thought in mind, she did an about-face to grab a fresh cup of coffee from the break room before sitting down to face the morning's paperwork.

As she waited for her computer to boot up, Lisbon glanced at the bullpen. She could see Van Pelt and Cho already settled at their desks, she had met Rigsby by the coffee machine, and now she could see Jane making his way down the hall. They were a surprisingly early bunch for a Monday morning, but Saturday night had been a full moon and the days following always brought out plenty of crazy cases.

Lisbon eyed the files in her inbox tray skeptically over her mug of coffee. She would have more to look over in her e-mail. With a sigh, she put aside her mug and started sorting through the hard-copy files: a couple of things she needed to review and sign off on, a case report from the gang unit to see if her team qualified to take the lead, an interoffice memo, and an unlabeled manila folder.

She opened the folder, expecting a case file that had simply been rushed through processing and instead found a sealed business envelope with her name typed along one edge and a piece of paper with a single typewritten line:

'Who am I?'

Headache instantly forgotten and barely aware of the pinging of her computer alerting new mail, Lisbon dropped the file on the desk and looked up as if the culprit would somehow still be around. Van Pelt was talking to Jane in the bullpen, Rigsby watching with an amused smile, and Cho looked like he was trying to ignore them. It didn't seem like anyone else had received something unusual.

Lisbon looked down at the envelope and debated whether she should call someone in before she opened it. "To hell with it," she muttered, digging into her go-bag to pull out a pair of gloves. She tore along the length of the envelope and parted the edges before looking inside. She frowned and shook out the contents: a wallet sized portrait of a girl with curly hair, maybe nine or ten years old.

She grabbed her phone and dialed the extension for Director Hightower's office. She didn't bother asking to be put through, straightforwardly telling the secretary, "We have a situation. I need to see the director in ten minutes." She didn't wait for a response, standing at the same time that she hung up the phone.

Gathering the folder and its contents, Lisbon headed for the bullpen.

---
Onto Part 2
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