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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.

Recent Edit: Jan. 19, 2014


NINE

It took substantial effort for Cho to rouse himself at the sound of the opening door. His focus clung to how cold his arms felt and how dry his mouth was. He struggled to wake up a little more, wondering all the while if his attempts to come to full awareness would actually help predict Red John's location.

The touch when it came was wholly unexpected. A gloved hand curled around Cho's hip from the front and fingertips dug into the skin of his low back. The grip anchored Cho, holding him in place as a cool metal edge trailed along his collar bone.

"How does it feel?" Red John whispered, and Cho felt the man's breath against his neck. No mask this time. "Do you enjoy his touch?" Red John moved the blade along without enough pressure to mark. The blade traced a line from the hollow of Cho's throat to his navel. Cho refused to respond although the taunts made him apprehensive. Reflexively he sucked in a breath in attempt to move the sensitive skin of his belly away from the blade. Red John tightened his grip but made no verbal comment. The blade trailed away from Cho's navel, disappearing completely for a few moments.

Abruptly Red John shoved Cho from his grasp and stepped away. Cho gasped in pain as his arms bore his full weight with his stumble off balance. His entire upper torso felt on fire from the sudden upset of his position. Cho regained his tenuous footing and had to concentrate on reducing his body's reaction to the pain. He fought off the wave of nausea and focused on steadying breaths.

Slowly he settled back into a vaguely numb state and turned his attention to searching for clues as to where Red John had moved. Although it was a possibility that Red John had left while Cho sorted through his pain, he doubted that was the case. Red John had a purpose, made particularly clear with the changes this visit: no mask and a knife of some sort. Cho was completely vulnerable and Red John had targeted him specifically. Cho had every right to be scared. He mentally clamped down on the urge to panic.

Red John's breath against his hip startled Cho so badly that he didn't think to struggle until it became impossible to do so. Red John tugged Cho off balance so that the agent's arms bore his full weight as Red John gripped one of Cho's legs behind the knee.

"Has Patrick ever allowed you to claim him?" Red John's voice was strangely light, although a certain tightness belied the casual tone. Cho felt the blade press hard against his thigh. It slid in smoothly and Red John guided it along slowly, carving a downward arc. "He's not yours to claim."

Red John jerked the blade away with a rough twist. Cho grit his teeth against the acute sting of the fresh cut. The blade returned to slice into the top of the first cut before Red John dragged it through Cho's skin in a mirrored arc to the first. "You had my warning, Agent Cho. I told you I found out about you. If you'd had any sense of self preservation, you would have withdrawn." The blade pulled out again and Cho felt Red John adjusting his grip. "Does that make you dedicated or a fool?" Red John asked, suddenly sounding amused. The blade dug in twice more for short, horizontal cuts.

"Either way, you now understand your position, right?" Red John tapped the tip of the blade against Cho's inner thigh. "Isn't that right?" Red John repeated, voice growing harsh as once again the blade bit into Cho's flesh and cut a horizontal curve.

Red John stood, dragging his empty hand over the fresh cuts as he did so. Red John wiped the flat of the blade against Cho's cheeks in slow strokes. His other hand gripped Cho's hip, cupped his ass, lay flat against Cho's sternum. Red John's hand returned to the cuts, pressing hard enough that Cho could feel the skin around each part to well more blood. Red John's hand wandered again, closing around Cho's shoulder, cupping the back of his neck, raking gloved fingers over Cho's chest. Cho clenched his jaw tightly as he endured the aberrant mockery of caresses.

The first tug at his genitals made Cho gag in disgust. Gloved hand damp with Cho's blood, Red John roughly fondled Cho's penis and balls. Red John's hand slid between Cho's legs and he dug his fingertips into the flesh of Cho's inner thigh. Red John's breath was hot and anger-ragged against Cho's ear; "I'll make you scream when he can hear you."

Then Red John withdrew completely, the phantom touches replaying across Cho's skin as the door closed.

---


Lisbon watched from the corner of her eye as Van Pelt once again picked up her fork to idly poke at her salad. She had taken a total of two bites before re-immersing herself in her computer search. Lisbon hadn't done any better with her own lunch, which she eventually gave up as a lost cause. Jane hadn't even bothered with ordering. Rigsby was the only one whose appetite was unaffected.

During another of Lisbon's visual sweeps around the office, she caught sight of Hightower striding down the hallway, her steps purposeful but unhurried. When she caught Lisbon's gaze, Hightower nodded in a way that included the entire team.

Lisbon straightened up in her chair and called the group together. Rigsby and Jane moved to join her at the conference table immediately while Van Pelt seemed to struggle with removing herself from the computer. Even as she stood, Van Pelt continued to watch the screen and used the mouse for another few seconds.

Hightower stood at the head of the conference table. "Kristina Frye is cleared to go home. From what I understand, she has been rather insistent about leaving the hospital."

Van Pelt bit her lip briefly in a look of worry. "We're not letting her go home alone, are we?"

Hightower pursed her lips and Lisbon caught a flash of irritation in her boss's eyes, though she doubted it was aimed at Van Pelt. "Although it appears she has lost Red John's interest, I've approved for two agents to provide guard."

"She slipped away from more than that last time," Jane reminded.

Hightower crossed her arms and arched an eyebrow, yet Lisbon got the sense that she wasn't surprised by the thought. "You think she's working with Red John."

Jane's gaze was hard even though he cocked his head casually as Lisbon had seen him do many times before. "I think she bears watching."

"Volunteering, Mr. Jane? I admit that I spoke with Ms. Frye and she did her best to convince me that I should insist you accompany her."

Lisbon shot a sharp glance at Jane and was a little surprised when he met her gaze. They stared at one another for a moment and Lisbon thought back to Hardy and felt a chill crawl up her spine.

"I have time for a brief visit," Jane agreed, looking back at Hightower. He stood and smoothed the edges of his jacket. He brushed at one sleeve, picking off some invisible lint.

Lisbon slowly stood as well, catching Hightower's steady gaze. Lisbon realized then that the three of them were wondering the same thing, wary that this was somehow a setup. Lisbon glanced at the other members of her team but they looked on in a combination of confusion and worry, like they could sense an underlying conversation was going on but didn't understand it. That was alright for now, Lisbon needed them to stay on their own tasks.

Aloud, she said, "I want to meet with the agents who're going with."

Hightower inclined her head in agreement. "By all means. I've called them for a briefing in fifteen minutes, if you'll join me."

Lisbon felt Jane's gaze on her as she nodded.

---


Kristina summarily dismissed the agents at the front door. McIntyre's eyebrow twitched but otherwise he didn't react. Henley looked indignant and turned away with a disdainful sniff. McIntyre met Jane's gaze and briefly explained they would be patrolling outside. Kristina did a mediocre job of looking uninterested.

When the agents had departed, she made a sweeping gesture in the direction of the kitchen. "Tea?" she invited.

Jane inclined his head in polite agreement before following.

"Do you suppose I'll be allowed to go to the store on my own?" Kristina mused aloud. She cast a small smile over her shoulder. "It would be a little strange to be walking down the grocery aisles with gentlemen in suits shadowing my moves."

"They're here for your protection," Jane reminded. He leaned against the island counter as Kristina went to the kitchen cupboards.

"Would you care for strangers to invade your privacy and home?" Kristina pulled out a kettle and filled it with water. She set it on the stove and turned it on before seeking Patrick's gaze.

"No, but our situations are different, don't you agree?"

Kristina's smiled serenely. "You believe so? Neither of us needs the protection."

Jane watched silently as Kristina turned away and moved to a door that presumably led to a pantry. She reached in to click on a light and disappeared inside. As Jane listened to her moving things around on shelves, he reflected that a better wording would have been Neither of us wants the protection... At least in his case.

Kristina emerged from the pantry with several small tins balanced between her arm and chest. She flipped off the light on her way out but left the door open. She set the tins on the counter and arranged them so that the handwritten labels faced Jane.

Jane feigned focus on the choices as he said, "I agree I don't want protection, but I'm not foolish enough to believe I'd be safe."

The kettle began whistling and Kristina turned off the burner. She shook her head sadly and with a sigh turned to open a cupboard filled with glasses and mugs.

Her back was still to him when she responded, "I wish you believed me, Patrick. But..." Kristina turned around, a mug in each hand. Her smile was stilted. "I have come to understand you will not listen to me."

Jane distinctly felt like something unpleasant was crawling over his skin. He could feel the hair on his nape standing up with the instinctive sense of danger. There was something dangerous in Kristina's expression that set off warning alarms in Jane's head.

"Patrick hasn't had the pleasure of my company as you have, Miss Frye."

Surprised, Jane jerked in the direction of the familiar voice. In the pantry doorway Red John stood, dressed fully from head to toe in black and wearing the clear plastic mask he had worn when Jane first saw him. Red John cocked his head and although the plastic protuberances distorted Red John's gaze, Jane felt the weight of his stare.

---
Onto part 10
---

Comments

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enmuse
Mar. 9th, 2011 05:10 pm (UTC)
*nervous cough* Not surprised by the response, though!

I'm worried about how to divide the next part due to how long the scene is that started here. And there's only one completed scene after it, ack~~!

I'm hoping to write (and finish?!) during my break next week. (I am so excited to travel home and cuddle with puppies. And see much less snow!)

I'll figure out where to divide the parts and get the next one up before I leave tomorrow, deal? ;)
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