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Blood-stained Leather

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Red John made his way through the empty and dark bullpen to the old wooden desk at the back of the room. He set down the small envelope he'd brought with him, taking care to position it so that it didn't look conspicuous to the casual eye, but would catch Jane's attention as soon as he came to work. When he was finally satisfied, he turned to leave, but then stopped when his eyes fell on the couch.

He'd made note of the leather couch next to the desk before, but he'd never actually looked at it, having always been more interested in the person usually occupying it. It was clearly a comfortable couch, the worn leather pillows soft and inviting. It was no wonder Jane spent so much time on it. As he studied the couch, Red John felt a sudden urge to lay down on it, and on a whim, he gave into the impulse.

He carefully sat down on the couch, shifting his weight to test the springs, and then leaned back, and closed his eyes. The couch was just as comfortable as it looked, and Red John didn't even hear the footsteps approaching until they came to a stop in front of him. When he opened his eyes, he saw Jane standing above him, holding a tea cup, his face scrunched up in a confused frown.

For a few seconds they stared at each other, and then Red John sprang to his feet, reaching for his scalpel. Jane flinched backwards, the teacup slipping from his hands and shattering on the floor, but Red John was faster, and slashed the blade across Jane's throat with one swift strike. Blood gushed from the wound, painting everything red, and then it was already over, with Jane's body crumbled in a heap at Red John's feet.

He stared at the body, still feeling the thrilling rush of the adrenaline coursing in his veins. This was not how he had wanted it to end, but there had been no choice. He couldn't risk capture, not even for Jane.

He wiped the scalpel on his pant leg and put it back in his pocket. Before he left, ran his hand over the couch one last time, smearing blood across the soft brown leather.

It really was good couch. Such a shame that it was now irreparably... damaged.


"Do you think it looks sad?"

Cho was roused from his thoughts by the sound of Van Pelt's voice. She was sitting at her desk, cradling a coffee mug in her hands as she stared at the couch in the corner. Cho followed her gaze.

It had been over two months since Jane's death, but seeing the empty couch still felt almost like having his grave stone in the corner of the office. The maintenance staff had done their best to clean everything, but even though the bloodstains weren't visible anymore, Cho still knew they were there. The couch had been in the bullpen long before Jane had joined CBI, but it was still his couch, and Cho didn't think anyone had sat down on it since... since Jane.

As he looked at the couch now, Cho could understand what Van Pelt meant. It just didn't seem the same couch anymore. It seemed older somehow, more worn - and yes, almost sad, like even the furniture were mourning for Jane.

He shook his head.

"It's just a couch," he said, and returned to his work.


Three weeks later, workplace resources sent two men to take the couch to the attic.

No-one was certain who had ordered the move, but everyone agreed that it was fitting.


Lisbon was just getting out of the door when her phone rang. She cradled the phone between her ear and shoulder as she locked the door behind her.

"Lisbon."

There was a brief silence on the line before she heard Cho's voice. "How close are you to the office?" He asked.

"I'm just leaving home. Why?"

There was another silence, longer this time.

"Something's happened, but... You better see it yourself. Just get here as soon as you can."

When Lisbon finally made it to the office, she found the bullpen full of people, a dozen or so agents crowding in the corner where Jane's couch used to be. She could see Rigsby's tall frame among them and pushed her way through the crowds to him. He was accompanied by Van Pelt and Cho, and Lisbon was just about to ask them what had happened when she realised what everyone was looking at: The couch, which had been unceremoniously moved to the attic months ago, was now back in it's place as it it had never been away. She was so confused by the reappearance of the couch that it took her several seconds to realise that there was a body underneath it.

It was a man, medium height and build, with dark short-cropped hair, though Lisbon could only barely tell, because he had been crushed underneath the heavy bulk of the couch, his skull caved in and his broken back twisted in an unnatural angle. She stared at the sight for a moment, and then turned to her agents.

"What...?"

Van Pelt shook her head, the expression on her face mirroring Lisbon's own confusion. "It gets weirder. We checked his ID to see why he was in the building and... We think that's Red John."

Lisbon turned back to look at the couch. It may have been battered and worn before, but now it was ruined beyond repair. There were deep slashes in the pillows, their contents spilling out like white blood, and dark splatters of coagulated blood covered almost every inch of the twisted frame.

She took a step closer and gently lay her hand on the torn leather. The couch was cold to the touch, and felt exactly the same as it had always felt, and maybe a part of her was disappointed by that, having expected to sense the lingering warmth of the last person who'd slept on it. Suddenly there was a low creaking sound, almost imperceptible at first but growing in volume, and then with a final groaning shudder the couch crumbled to pieces, burying Red John underneath it.