He didn't usually drink coffee in the mornings, at least not this much, but he could already feel exhaustion burning at the back of his eyes even though it was barely noon. Cho grabbed a bottle of Tylenol from the cupboard, shook one pill out and then washed it down with coffee - half and half from each pan, because someone had removed the labels again. He suspected Jane, even though he couldn't figure out what could possibly be the reason for it. Probably some brilliantly complicated social experiment that only made sense if you were Jane.
Cho closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose, trying to will the Tylenol to work faster. It had been almost a week since he'd had a proper night's sleep - every time he closed his eyes he could see Elise, could imagine the look of terror on her face as the thugs pushed her to the floor. He'd assumed that finding the men who'd hurt her would have eased his mind, but the dreams were still there, the guilt was still there, and he'd started to wonder if it was ever going to go away.
He crushed the paper cup and threw it into trash, feeling the anger surface again with the memory. Angry was good, angry was better than the paralysing sense of helplessness that followed him to his dreams.
When Cho returned to the bullpen, Jane was sitting on the edge of Rigsby's desk, showing the agent a card trick of some sort. From his vantage point Cho could clearly see the extra card Jane had palmed, and he resisted the urge to go over and tell Rigsby to stop being such a fool. It would only mean drawing Jane's attention to himself, and better Rigsby than him.
It was just the three of them in the bullpen, Lisbon having put them on desk duty for a week as a punishment for what had happened with Adam Reed. She could have had them suspended without a pay, but Cho suspected that mercy had nothing to do with it. After few days of being stuck at the office, Jane would be driven mad by boredom, and with both Lisbon and Van Pelt away on the field, he would have to get his entertainment from Cho and Rigsby. A punishment which, Cho was certain, would count as cruel and unusual under the universal declaration of human rights.
But aside from the threat of becoming Jane's choice of entertainment, Cho didn't really mind. They were doing background checks for a case as a favor to the Narcotics unit, and going through the files had proven to be a good way to keep his mind from wandering. He'd just finished his third folder for the day when his phone rang. He glanced at the screen, ignoring the blinking notification for a new text message that had been there since the previous night. Elise. She'd called him four times already that morning, and had probably left as many voice mails. Cho closed his eyes for a second, pushing down the memories that were threatening to surface. He silenced the phone and concentrated on the files again.
"I used to have nightmares about someone taking my daughter."
Cho looked up, roused from his thoughts by Jane's words. Jane was now lying on the couch, his eyes closed and a book resting in his lap. For a moment Cho wondered if he'd just imagined his voice, but then Jane opened his eyes, angling his head so that he was able to see Cho. "I guess every parent has nightmares like that, of something bad happening to their child."
It was rare for Jane to talk about his family - Cho wasn't sure if he would have even known their names if he hadn't read the case files - and for a second Cho wondered if this was just some trick, some elaborate scheme Jane had come up with to amuse himself. Jane shook his head, almost like he'd known what Cho was thinking, and then closed his eyes again, a slight smile grazing his lips as if he was dreaming of something pleasant.
"When our daughter was born, my wife and I had the whole house childproofed. Locks on cabinet doors, stair gates, the whole nine yards. We even considered getting a ransom insurance for her, after my first television appearance. We did everything possible to keep her safe."
Cho waited for him to continue, to get to the actual point, but Jane said nothing, just looked at him like had just divulged some ancient secret.
"And that's supposed to make me feel better? Red John killed your family."
It was cruel to say it out loud, but Cho wasn't feeling particularly charitable.
Jane's smile didn't change, but he looked away before speaking again.
"What happened to Elise and David had nothing to do with you. The only thing you can control is yourself - everything else is outside your power." He sat up and looked Cho straight in the eyes. "Take it from someone who knows."
Cho nodded, but didn't say anything. It was true, of course, even if he hated to admit it. What happened to Elise and David wasn't his fault. It was so easy to wallow in self-pity, focusing on nothing but his own guilt, making it all about him and his pain.
To become like Jane.
Jane was still watching him, in that eerie way that almost made it seem like he could read your mind, and Cho felt like he should give something in return. Maybe tell Jane that revenge didn't help, that hurting those who had hurt someone you loved didn't take away the nightmares, but he suspected that somewhere deep down Jane already knew it.
He was still trying to think of what to say when Rigsby appeared from the kitchen. From the look on his face it was obvious that he thought he had finally cracked Jane's trick.
Jane suddenly grinned and stood up, heading towards Rigsby. "Rigsby, my man! Double or nothing?"
But as he passed, Cho felt his hand briefly rest on his shoulder.
"Call your girlfriend," Jane said, his voice low and gentle. "She won't wait for you forever."
And then Jane was gone, almost bouncing with energy as he caught up with Rigsby and lead the agent back towards the kitchen. Cho waited until they were gone and then dialled Elise's number.