"You could bring your chess board next time. We could play."
Jane's voice was calm and smooth, and all Lisbon could think was how badly she wanted to reach over the table and shake him, to slap that ever-present smile off his face and shout at him until he realised what he had done.
"It'd be like Professor X visiting Magneto in prison." He tilted his head, considering his words. "Although I think you're more like Storm. Or maybe Shadowcat."
She frowned, suddenly realising that he had stopped making sense a long time ago. "What?"
"Oh c'mon, you grew up with three brothers, you can't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about."
He laughed at the confusion that must have been apparent on her face, and just for a moment she could imagine that they were back at the CBI with him lounging on the couch in her office. She almost laughed herself at the absurdity of it all.
Something touched the back of her hand, stirring her from her thoughts, and when she looked down, she saw Jane's hand resting on hers.
"It's okay, Lisbon," he said, his face serious again, his voice gentle and reassuring, almost like he was trying to hypnotise her. "Everything's okay."
She scowled at him. "No, it's not. Jane, you killed a man in cold blood in front of dozens of witnesses. That's a capital offence."
He let go of her hand and shrugged. "Meh. They haven't executed anyone in California since 2006. They're not going to start with me."
She bit down her anger, swallowed all the useless words she wanted to shout at him, and simply held his gaze, trying to will him into understanding the reality of the situation. She wanted to ask him if he was happy now, if he was finally satisfied now that he'd had his revenge, but the longer she looked into his eyes, the clearer it became that he wasn't. Maybe he never even expected to be.
She sighed. "I can't get you out of this. You do realise that?"
"I knew what I was doing. You don't have to worry." He smiled. "I can breathe now."
He said those words like they were supposed to mean something, and she found herself lost again, unable to do anything but stare at him.
"There is something can do for me, though," he said after a while, and for the first time that day, she saw a flash of something like vulnerability in his eyes.
"What is it?"
"My car is probably still in the parking garage at the shopping mall unless it has already been towed away. I need someone to go get it, find some place where to keep it. I can pay for it." He frowned. "Unless they've frozen my bank account. Do murderers get their bank accounts frozen? I've never really thought about that."
She almost shivered at the casual way that he said 'murderer', with far less emotion than she had ever heard him say the word 'psychic'. He caught her eye, holding her gaze for a few seconds as if trying to read her mind, and then looked away again.
"There's also my motel room. I don't have much there, but if you could empty it and return the key, I would appreciate it. There are some... items that I would like you to bring me, you'll know when you see them, but you can do whatever you like with the rest."
A bell rang to mark the end of visiting hour and she stood up, not needing to say anything to his request because she knew that he knew her answer would be yes.
He smiled again, reading her mind just like she had expected. "I've arranged everything with the warden, he can give you the keys."
As she turned to leave, he stopped her, his hand lingering on her arm just long enough not to catch the eye of the guards.
"Thank you for coming to see me, Lisbon. You're a good friend."
The next morning she got Cho to drive her to the motel, her shoulder still too stiff for her to handle a car. He offered to help her with the packing as well, but she declined. Jane was a very private person, and she didn't feel like she had the right to let anyone else in his home - if a room in a dinghy motel could even be called a home.
The steady ache in her arm turned into a stabbing pain as she hauled the assortment of cardboard boxes and plastic bags up the stairs, but she resisted the temptation to go back on Cho's offer, and just gritted her teeth as she juggled her burden to swipe the keycard and then opened the door.
A part of her had always imagined Casa de Jane to be a suite in a four star hotel knowing his hedonistic tendencies, and a part of her had maybe even hoped that it would be. The Jane who lived in the bare, impersonal motel room before her was the Jane who spent his nights at the CBI pouring over old case files. The Jane who took a gun to a crowded shopping mall and shot a man in the chest three times in broad daylight. She'd almost come to miss the other Jane, the arrogant bastard who bought her stupid expensive gifts just to annoy her.
She dumped the boxes on the bed and immediately dove into work, starting with the closet at the back of the room. Unsurprisingly, the closet revealed a row of three-piece suits still in their dry-cleaning bags, and just as many monogrammed shirts. As she stuffed the clothes into a plastic bag, she fingered the frayed cuff of one of his shirts, the expensive cotton washed and worn so many times that it was almost see-through.
People saw only Jane's expensive suits and charming smile, and tended to miss the fact that his shirts were unironed and his shoes were scuffed. Tended not to notice that his smile was brittle and his eyes were hollow and tired. She'd known him long enough to have learned to look closer, but she still sometimes wondered how well he still had her fooled. Or if it was maybe she who was fooling herself. Maybe just like everyone else she too had only seen the tailored suits, had kept telling herself that all those times he'd threatened to kill Red John had been nothing but empty words.
The thought followed her to the bathroom where she emptied the small cabinet behind the mirror. A shaving kit, a toothbrush, and whitening Colgate toothpaste. Vitamin B supplements, antacids, and Tylenol. She couldn't help grinning to herself, amused by the revelation that the mighty Patrick Jane was a human after all, but her amusement died when she reached to the back of the cabinet and pulled out four unopened bottles of sleeping pills, each prescribed by a different doctor. She shoved them into a box with the rest of the toiletries, trying not to dwell on why he might have been saving them.
She went through the motel room methodically, checking every drawer and cabinet, the boxes and plastic bags slowly filling with underwear, socks, and other paraphernalia. The ritual was almost too much like going through her father's belongings after his death, and she had to keep reminding herself that Jane was still alive, and that no matter what happened, one day he would be a free man again. But she was still disturbed by the unsettling finality of it all, her mind straying back to the sleeping pills in his bathroom cabinet.
When she was done packing Jane's belongings, she sat down on the chair by the small desk and stared at the things collected on the bed. It was an unremarkable selection of items that could have belonged to anyone, nothing in it that said specifically Patrick Jane, and she found herself saddened by the thought that his whole life could be so easily packed away in just a few cardboard boxes.
She took out her phone to call Cho to come up and help her carry the boxes, and then paused. She looked at Jane's belongings again, going over in her mind the contents of every box and bag, trying to come up with a single item that Jane might want to keep. There were his teas that had been neatly stored in a tin by the microwave. The motley selection of books that ranged from popular science and poetry to New York Times best sellers, and even few Harlequin novels - all dog-eared and yellow-paged. A box containing photocopies of documents from the Red John case file.
She carefully considered each item and then shook her head. She could bring him new books the next time he visited, he already had the Red John files memorized, and for all his grousing he didn't really care what he drank as long as it was warm, sugary, and fell under the label of tea.
Her face set in determination, she put away the phone and started going through the room again, this time carefully checking the top of each drawer in case there was something hidden there.
She finally found what she was looking for under the mattress: a plain manila envelope neatly taped to the headboard. She stared at it until her curiosity got the better of her and she emptied the contents of the envelope on the bed.
The first item that caught her eye was a faded polaroid of two teenagers posing in front of a baby elephant. It took her a second to recognize Jane as the awkward-looking boy with a mop of blond curls and a Star Wars t-shirt. The girl next to him - his wife, she realised - had a badly crimped hair and a little too much make-up, and they both looked like they'd rather be anywhere else. It was the kind of a photograph that would be taken out to mock fashion disasters of yesteryear, but Lisbon was fascinated by it. Jane never spoke of his family, and so the only pictures she'd seen of his wife were the ones in the case files.
As she went through the photographs and other mementos Lisbon felt a strange sense of disconnect, like it wasn't really Jane in these pictures but rather some stranger that she had never met. With each item she kept telling herself that she had his permission to do this, to go through his things. You'll know when you see them, he'd said, and as she picked up a folded crayon drawing signed 'ETOLRAHC' with wobbly block letters, she was suddenly struck by the realization that he really did want her to do this. That he wanted her to look at these pictures, wanted to show her the reason why he'd done what he had. He'd asked her to do this to show her exactly what he'd lost.
The last item in the envelope was a photograph of Jane sitting in an armchair, holding his newborn daughter in his arms. He was smiling as he looked at the child, but it was not the all-knowing grin that she was used to seeing on him, nor was it the sad little curve of his lips that he gave her at the visitors' room, and as she stared at the picture it finally hit her, the reason why she could barely recognize him. In all the years that she had known Jane, she had never really seen him happy. Not like the man in the photos.
She took one last look at the photograph of Jane and his daughter, and then collected the pictures and mementos back into the envelope before taking out her phone to call Cho. She did not agree with Jane about what he'd done, but it was not her place to neither judge or forgive him, and so all she could do to him now was to be his friend. And maybe one day she'd meet the Jane that she'd seen in the picture. She was looking forward to that.