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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 *
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.

Recent Edit: Jan. 19, 2014
Notes: We've reached the part where the warnings are starting to apply.


Lisbon returned to the conference table with a fresh mug of coffee clutched between both hands. She stood behind her chair for a moment, staring blankly at the open files and photographs that offered very little to work with. Rigsby sat across the table, hunched over the laptop as he ran... something. She couldn't remember what he'd muttered before she stood up.

She sat down, gaze still on Rigsby as she took in his tense shoulders and barely hidden scowl. With a sigh, she said, "Don't blame him." Rigsby looked up, eyes widening in surprise. He opened his mouth but before he could protest, Lisbon held up her hand and continued, "I know you're frustrated, we all are, but Jane isn't at fault here."

Rigsby hung his head with a noisy sigh. "Sorry, Boss," he grumbled.

Lisbon waited in silence for a few minutes, sipping her coffee. When Rigsby gave no indication he was going to say anything else, Lisbon tried again. "Wayne, Jane's doing a good job beating himself up, we don't need to help. Put the blame where it's due. We're not letting Red John get away with this."

A pinched expression crossed Rigsby's face and it took Lisbon a few moments to identify the emotions as worry and helplessness. "Boss, Red John..." Rigsby began, tone careful, "he kills his victims." Only two exceptions that they knew of, Rosalind Harker and Kristina Frye.

Lisbon swallowed the lump in her throat. Although she knew it was bitter comfort, if any comfort at all, she said, "Red John won't kill him." Not right away. We have time. "That would be... too easy. He wants Jane to hurt, to break." She closed her eyes and shook her head, unable to continue. Rigsby should have gotten her point.

When she had composed herself, Lisbon lifted her gaze to Rigsby and found him with his head turned to stare out the window. She drank from her coffee mug and waited for his response.

Eventually Rigsby turned back to his laptop. Although he didn't meet her gaze, he muttered, "I know." Lisbon was relieved he sounded determined rather than defeated. She drew confidence from that and set back to work with renewed focus.

They worked for another hour, absorbed with each update from the CSU labs no matter how small.

Jane and Van Pelt returned just as Lisbon finished reading the report about the signature smiley face on Cho's bedroom wall. By the look on Van Pelt's face, Lisbon could tell that the two had an argument. Lisbon hid a sigh, hoping it hadn't been bad enough to warrant her interference.

"What have you got?" Lisbon asked as Van Pelt pulled out a chair to sit. They'd been at the hospital for a few hours, so she hoped that was a good sign.

Jane's expression was hard to read as he came around the table to stand at Lisbon's shoulder. She glanced up at him and noticed his gaze focused on the report in front of her. She explained, "They think Red John cut Cho's fingers to trace the face." She watched for a change of expression, any indication of what Jane might be feeling, but he remained completely blank. "It wasn't really..." she trailed off, the words that much blood dying on her lips. Jane's gaze flickered to her briefly and there was a moment that Lisbon could see him unguarded and the emotions there made her chest ache in sympathy.

"Anything else turn up?" Van Pelt asked hesitantly.

Lisbon turned her attention to Van Pelt and shook her head. Jane wandered out of the bullpen in the direction of the break room. "Let's hear what Kristina had to say."


Somehow Cho managed to doze off. It was never for very long and he would jerk awake, reminded immediately that his nightmares were real. His senses no longer seemed to be spiking off the charts, though the smell of mildew was still nauseatingly strong. Whenever he woke, he lifted his head to lean it against his upraised arms. When he fell asleep his head would fall forward to his chest and stretch his neck, adding strain to his already pained muscles.

The doorknob turned and Cho straightened up the best he could as he heard Red John's footsteps enter the room. For an indeterminate amount of time Cho was aware only of his own breathing and the aches and pains of his body. He could hear no movement from Red John, no indication what the man intended during this visit.

The silence dragged on long enough that Cho began to doubt he'd heard the sound of someone entering.

When Red John spoke, his voice came from behind Cho. "Did you know I thought it would be Agent Lisbon who would eventually crack Patrick's barriers?" Cho jerked automatically, his head twisting to the side as if he could look over his shoulder. Red John neared close enough that his arm brushed against Cho's back.

"And then the lovely Miss Frye came along to set the record... straight, if you will." Red John's voice came from a close distance, although it was still slightly muffled and Cho couldn't feel breath. "Did you understand my message, Agent Cho? I left you one of my mics. Excellent equipment."

Red John's hand landed on Cho's hip and gripped tightly. Cho tensed, on edge when he had little to no clue on what would come next. He tried to relax, it was no use straining his muscles when he couldn't get away.

"I heard you. As you came in, your attempts to calm Patrick." Red John's voice turned mocking, "You could only offer comfort with your body, couldn't you." His other hand dropped onto Cho's shoulder and squeezed. Both hands were gloved in leather and it felt rough against Cho's skin. "I watched you, did you know?"

Red John's voice lowered and he moved his hands inward, fingers closing near Cho's throat, his other hand curving along the edge of Cho's shirt and sleep pants where his skin had bared due to his stretched position. "It was you, taking in anything Patrick needed to get rid of. Do you do that often?"

Cho refused to respond although his pulse raced and he could hear the blood pounding in his ears. He swallowed back a sound of disgust as Red John's lower hand slipped under his shirt and crawled up his chest.

Red John yanked Cho back against his body. His higher hand covered Cho's throat and slowly tightened. "Do you give yourself often, Agent Cho? Does Patrick ever let you take him?" Cho opened his mouth to get a better breath of air as the pressure on his throat continued. Red John shook him harshly and said, "You're no better than a whore. A distraction."

Abruptly Red John let Cho go, removing all contact as he stepped back. Cho gasped in a clear breath of air and shivered, trying to get rid of the feel of unwanted hands on his body.

He had no sense of where Red John had gone. Since he'd not heard the man earlier, he no longer trusted his senses to let him know where Red John was in comparison to himself.

It was a few minutes before Red John made his presence known again.

"You're impressive, Agent Cho. Uneasily rattled. I should have expected no less, Patrick has discerning taste." Red John apparently stood in front of him again. Cho said nothing as he straightened up, presenting as calm a front as he could.

"Did you thank Kristina for her introduction? She's quite interesting. Not nearly as much as Patrick, of course, and she would have been a poor choice for him. Did you know she fancied herself the better suited?" Red John sounded amused by the thought. "She still has delusions of being some mystical conduit. Laughable really, despite her somewhat admirable talents. She claims a connection with Patrick, understanding some other level of himself he has not accessed. She's completely smitten with him.

"If she wanted to, she could help find you." Red John moved close, close enough that smooth plastic that must be his mask brushed against Cho's cheek. "I don't think she'll help, do you?"

Cho felt sick at the thought, but couldn't deny that he agreed. It was doubtful Kristina would put forth any real effort to rescue him — if she actually knew anything. It was possible, perhaps even likely, that Red John was lying and Kristina had nothing of worth. Even if she knew, she may not realize that she did.

"She would love to make Patrick forget about you. She wants him for herself, thinks that she can settle the differences between he and I and then take him for her own. Kindred spirits or some nonsense." Red John's hand returned, clenching Cho's shirt and yanking hard. "He is no one else's. You can't have him any longer and she will never have him."

It was almost boring to listen to the possessive repetition. Despite his pain and very real fear about his perilous situation, Cho also felt irritated by the ridiculous monologue. Obsessive, that had been obvious enough, but this bordered on ludicrous. He was half tempted to cut into the rant to roll his eyes, he could probably get away with it with half his face covered.

Cho was still being held by his shirt when he felt cool, flat metal rest against his stomach. He sucked in a breath automatically, his stomach pulling away from the blade. Red John chuckled lowly and then Cho heard the tear of fabric and the grip on his shirt seemed to have less effect.

In short order Cho's shirt had been removed. The thin blade returned to rest with its flat side against his belly. Cho focused on his breathing and keeping it even. Red John stood that way, not moving an inch. About the time that Cho began worrying about swaying forward in reaction to staying rigid for so long, the blade moved away from his skin and his pants were cut away.

Cho's fingers clenched above his head as he was fully exposed to the chill air. He had to fight hard to suppress his shudder of discomfort and he swallowed against the growing knot of unease. Again he was left with no sense of Red John's position. The man was silent and had withdrawn all touch. Cho waited, not know what would be worse — the brush of leather gloves touching him again or a blade cutting through his skin.

He waited.

And waited.


Jane watched from lowered eyelids as Madeline Hightower walked down the hall, her poise just slightly off, not nearly at her normal confidence. Jane knew the others weren't likely to notice the director's worry.

Hightower slowed her pace when she entered the bullpen. She folded her arms across her chest and cast a look around the room. Her gaze rested a little longer at Jane; she probably guessed he was awake despite his closed eyes and outwardly relaxed pose on the couch.

"I doubt it would do me any good to order you home," she commented dryly.

Van Pelt and Rigsby exchanged a look before glancing at Lisbon, who stood up from the conference table. "The first forty-eight—"

"I'm well aware, Agent Lisbon," Hightower cut in. She sighed and gave the group another evaluating look. "I suggest you get some rest tonight. We don't need any mistakes." With that, she headed to the doorway. "Good night," she said as she exited.

Jane opened his eyes and lifted his arm to look at his watch. It was well past the time Hightower usually left. He wasn't sure what she was doing in regards to the case but he doubted she'd stayed late just to avoid her family; he got the impression she was content with her home life.

Lisbon crossed the office and perched on the edge of Cho's desk. Her attention fixed on Jane and she crossed her arms. "When do you think he'll try contacting you?" she asked quietly.

Jane shrugged, honestly unsure when to expect the call or note or communiqué, whatever it may be. That Red John would make contact, he had no doubt. Cho had been taken for a reason; if Red John wanted Cho dead, he would have done so immediately and left the body for Jane to find.

Not that it meant Red John wouldn't kill Cho (and god, Jane hated to think that), but Red John would draw out the pain he would be able to inflict upon Jane.

"We're getting him back," Lisbon said with conviction.

Jane nodded absently without meeting her concerned stare. They had to, there was no acceptable alternative.

Onto part 9


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 3rd, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
despite the fact that his emotions in this chapter are completely masked.

Should I get into his emotions more? (This is still a working draft.)

And God, Red John is scaring me. I'm afraid of what he's going to do to Cho. D:

Red John is a scary bastard. And difficult to write. I fretted it about it constantly in the earliest drafts and it took a lot of reminders from people that not a lot about him in canon. (At least not in the two seasons I'm familiar with/basing the story on. idk what's up lately.)

Just remember: I'm a sucker for happy endings!!

I so need to finish writing this thing. >_>
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )