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Five Ways Patrick Jane Hasn't Died Yet (And One Way He Never Will)

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Jane's done suicidal ideation before. It's most of the reason he landed in the hospital. Sophie taught him to redirect intrusive and dangerous thoughts. He had to start by recognizing them, so she taught him how to do that, too.

So he's considered that maybe he's doing it again, but this is different. The thoughts aren't intrusive, or bad at all. It's just something he thinks about when he's trying to sleep: a job that's nearly all planned, one he can't put into motion yet. All he can do is think about it, polishing his contingencies.

A good performer knows that how he gets off the stage is as important as everything he does on it. This isn't depression. It's professionalism.

Someday, he is going to come face to face with Red John. There will be a moment when he is certain, and at that moment Jane will not hesitate. He will not linger. He is not a sociopath and has no desire to watch anyone--even Red John--suffer. He cannot make a psychopath regret his actions; to force him to go through the motions of regret would serve nothing but Jane's pride. Jane's goal is simply to remove Red John from this world, and he will accomplish it.

He will take the knife (a ceramic-bladed folding knife, harder and sharper than steel, undetected by the CBI HQ's metal detectors, and questionably legal for him to possess as he is questionably a law enforcement officer) from the inside pocket of his suit jacket. He carries it there at all times, in case the moment arrives unexpectedly. In a single motion, which he has practiced extensively, he will snap the blade open and slash Red John's throat. One side will be sufficient. Death will come slightly faster if Red John is of small stature, or is a woman, due to lower blood volume.

Death will also come faster if Red John is energetically engaged in trying to kill Jane. It's possible Jane will suffer significant injuries, even fatal ones, but if he's incapacitated then events will be out of his control. There's no need to plan for that contingency, just as there is no need to contemplate scenarios in which he is somehow prevented from killing Red John. He has considered many of the obstacles he may have to overcome to achieve the single moment. He will do what he has to do. He will arrive at the moment.

Jane will kill Red John, face to face, with a knife. Jane will be covered in blood; high pressure arterial spray is hard to evade and harder for a police officer to mistake on sight. He will be there, afterward, with his nemesis dead at his feet and the weapon in his hand. He will make it happen when the moment comes, and until the moment is over he will be conscious of nothing around him, nothing except the necessary elements. Red John. The knife. The moment itself is very simple.

What Jane thinks about as he's lying on the couch, listening to the sounds of the team at work behind him and lulling himself to sleep, is what comes after the moment. There are so many ways it could play out, and he can't deny it--he has favorites.

1.

Jane looks up and realizes the whole team is arrayed before him, shoulder to shoulder with each other. There are a few uniforms hovering around, too, but what's important here is Jane's team.

They all have their weapons out--Lisbon and Cho have them at full stiff-armed extension, in firm, serious grips. Rigsby and Van Pelt have theirs up, too, but they lack complete conviction. There's a moment of stunned silence, and Jane can hear himself breathing loudly.

He starts counting his breaths in the back of his head. There aren't a lot of them left.

Lisbon says, "Jane, I really wish you hadn't done that."

Lisbon's tone of voice, her shoulders, her grip on the gun, say I knew you were going to do that and I wish I didn't have to do this.

Jane nods slightly--to what Lisbon really means--and says, "I'm sorry, I lost my head."

The evidence of premeditation is obvious, but the fact that Lisbon knew about it isn't, and needn't be. He made sure she wouldn't be able to stop him. He waves the knife casually, his grip loose, striking just the right balance between moment's over and still dangerous to entice someone who doesn't know him well into thinking it's a good time to approach him.

The team is all riveted on him, and he keeps his focus on them, so the uniforms will think they're unobserved. One rushes in--Jane sees Lisbon and Van Pelt's attention shift past him, over his shoulder--and Jane lashes out with the knife the second the cop is in range. He only opens a small wound, perpendicular like an incompetent suicide, but the gush of blood is highly dramatic. It's more than enough distraction to deliver the cop's weapon into Jane's hand, and then it's a standoff with four guns trained on him and the one in his hand aimed at the uniformed officer's head.

Jane gestures the cop down to his knees. "Put pressure on it, it'll clot."

The guy's pale, shaking--he's kneeling in a pool of blood, his own mixing with Red John's. He doesn't understand that he's not what this is about. Jane checks the safety.

"Jane," Van Pelt says, "You don't want to--"

"Of course I want to," Jane says. "I'm done. I don't have anything at all to lose."

He raises the gun and sets his shoulders to mimic Cho's silent, steady, absolute conviction.

"Oh God," the cop on his knees says. "Oh Jesus, please--"

Jane lets his arm tense up, braces his legs, tightens all the muscles of his face like he's anticipating a loud noise.

And the loud noise comes, the report of four guns, but he hears it after he's already falling. The combined punch of four bullets sends him spinning, his hand suddenly light as the gun flies free. The safety was on, though, so no one should be hurt.

Jane's lying in a pool of blood, uncomfortably splayed across Red John, still alive for a few surprising seconds, though his arms and legs are numb and his chest hurts like nothing he's ever felt before. He can hear Rigsby shouting for an ambulance--well, that will be of use to the man he cut, at least. He can feel a lot of hands touching him--at least two are pressing against different wounds. Someone is clutching his hand. Someone is touching his face.

Someone is saying, "Sorry, fuck, I'm so sorry--" and Jane wants to say it's what he wanted, but he's already gone.

He figures they'll understand that anyway, when they get the letters enclosed with his will if no sooner. If they're all there, none of them ever has to be alone with the responsibility for killing him. If they need to, when they need to, each can imagine that their own bullet was not the fatal one.

If they're all there, then Jane will die surrounded by the only living people he loves. He understands that's the way most people want to die, so it's really not at all odd that it's his favorite of the possibilities.

2.

Jane looks up and Lisbon is standing there with her gun out. "What the hell did you do?"

He gives her a bright, rueful smile, which is as much answer as the question really requires. She jerks the gun up slightly higher, and her cheeks flush as her mouth goes flat and hard. "Jane."

"You'd better just pull the trigger," Jane says, because he can't actually annoy or startle Lisbon into it. She has to make the choice, and she's got to have been thinking about it for a long time now. This eventuality has to have occurred to her. And the way she's holding the gun and not firing it suggests she still hasn't entirely made up her mind.

Jane waves the knife. Her eyes don't follow it.

"You said it yourself, Lisbon, I come from carny people. You have to know I can throw this and kill you. I'm armed and threatening an officer. You have to shoot."

Lisbon shakes her head. "You saved my life. You're not going to kill me."

She sounds like she believes it.

Jane rolls his eyes, though he doubts he can get Lisbon to buy actual scorn. "I needed you to get here. Now you're just the person who wants to arrest me. I'm not going to prison."

The color starts going out of Lisbon's face. "Jane, you can't...."

"It's a good shoot, Lisbon. No one will blame you." He shifts his grip on the knife, rocking it, getting ready to throw. There's only so far he can threaten her, but they've also only got so much time before someone else finds them. "It's a good shoot."

He feels a punch in the chest, but all he hears is Lisbon saying, "Dammit, Jane."

He looks down and sure enough there's a hole there with blood coming out. He tries to take a breath, to say something about it, but he finds he can't. His legs feel weird--he's about to fall over and then Lisbon's there.

She puts her hand over the hole in his chest, and her other arm is around him, keeping him up. It's not until she starts putting pressure on the wound that it hurts, and he realizes she shot him, straight in the heart. He is going to die from this within the next few seconds.

Whatever is left of his heart, shattered as it is, is between her two hands. He tries again to breathe, to speak--Lisbon is repeating herself over and over, Dammit Jane dammit dammit Jane dammit--but when she looks up at his face he settles for a smile. He feels the warm rush of blood up his throat and over his teeth, and he falls in her arms.

Lisbon will pull the trigger knowing it's what he needs from her, knowing it's suicide by his favorite cop. Knowing he trusted her enough to do it this way. He will die in her arms. He doesn't mind that thought at all.

3.

"Jane," Cho barks, and Jane straightens up, automatically raising the knife. In the next second he staggers, throwing his arms wide for balance. He hears the knife clattering away and looks down to see blood pouring from his thigh.

Cho shot him. In the leg.

"Sit down," Cho says, holstering and securing his sidearm as he closes the distance to Jane. Jane's leg won't really bend right, but Cho gets him down to the ground, outside the blood pool from Red John. Cho grabs Jane's right hand and presses it down on the wound.

Jane thinks it's probably supposed to hurt more. He thinks he knows why it doesn't, but the information won't stick in his mind.

"You shot me," he says to Cho. "You shot me in the leg."

"I did," Cho says. "It's called a disabling shot. Now you're not a threat to anyone and I can decide what to do with you."

Decide. It occurs to Jane that Cho hasn't called for backup or an ambulance yet. Cho has a decision to make, which can only mean Cho figured him out somewhere along the way, and Jane has only so much persuading to do.

"I'm going to die from this, Cho. One way or another. Let me get it over with now. I could get your gun away from you--"

Jane tries it with his free hand. Even allowing for Cho knowing what to expect and Jane using his non-dominant hand, it doesn't work nearly as well as it should. Jane's left hand is shaking pretty badly, and his whole arm is weak, easy for Cho to push away from the holster. Jane's losing a lot of blood despite the pressure of his right hand, and Cho's hand over it.

"Give me one reason," Cho says.

Because I deserve it, Jane thinks.

"Because I can't do it myself, and I'm asking for your help," Jane says. It's not his best line ever, but it's getting hard to think straight. Cho still hasn't called for an ambulance. Maybe Cho made his decision before Jane said anything. Stalling is also a decision.

"It doesn't have to be you," Jane adds. "Or your fault. I could get your gun away from you."

"Like hell you could," Cho says. He pushes down hard hard hard on Jane's leg, and then he's up on his feet, towering over Jane, whose blood is spurting hot under his hand. Cho bends down again and peels Jane's hand off the wound, pressing something into his palm.

The knife, he realizes. Cho's left hand closes around Jane's right, helping him hold on.

"You were armed," Cho says, still towering above Jane, holding the gun high. Forensics will show it was point-blank, but not execution-style. "And dangerous. I had no choice."

"Thank you," Jane says, and Cho's hand squeezes tighter around his, and then nothing. He was already losing consciousness, and it's a head shot.

Cho will seem to be handling it better than he actually will, but Cho's man enough to ask for help when he needs it. Cho will be all right, and Jane will be dead. That's all he really needs.

4.

He stands still for a moment, looking down at the blood pooling around his feet. Rigsby yells, "Drop the knife, Jane!"

Jane waits without moving for another long breath, in and out, and then he looks up at Rigsby, doing a pretty good impression of dazed and uncomprehending. Rigsby's not brandishing his weapon--Rigsby is adhering with all his might to the niceties of the continuum of force. He has his hand hovering in the immediate vicinity of his holster, which is on the conservative side of appropriate, since Jane is armed but not threatening Rigsby. Rigsby will probably not believe Jane is threatening him until after Jane draws blood; Rigsby sees Jane as part of his team, the only family Rigsby truly values.

Jane waits, and Rigsby follows protocol, as though this were a situation to which normal rules applied. He repeats the command to which the subject has not responded. "Jane! Drop the knife!"

He still hesitates, and Rigsby, like clockwork, opens the thumb break on the holster in preparation for actually drawing the gun. Jane blinks, shakes his head, and raises his empty hand, palm out, then tosses the knife to the side. It lands with a clatter. Rigsby darts a glance at it, hand still hovering over his holstered gun, before his full attention returns to Jane.

He puts both hands up, watching Rigsby's gaze skip downward, past him to the corpse at his feet. As Jane watches, the automatic professionalism with which Rigsby confronted an armed man, even an armed man he knew, gives way to frustration.

"What the hell did you do that for? We've got the evidence! We caught him! There's no way he was getting away this time."

Jane shrugs. "I did what I had to do."

Rigsby's gaze returns to him, looking him over from head to toe. Lots of blood, no injuries.

"It wasn't self-defense," Rigsby observes. Jane gives him a shallow nod, a slight shrug, in acknowledgment of the truth of that.

Red John wanted him to go on living with this. Jane intends to thwart him one more time before he's done.

Rigsby's hands are in fists, down at his sides, and he's still as much puzzled as angry. "You could have left him for us, Jane. You could have trusted us."

"I do trust you," Jane assures him. "I know you'll do what you have to do. But whatever happens next, I needed to do this for myself."

Rigsby visibly gives up on arguing, his mouth drawing tight. "I have to take you in."

Jane nods and holds out his hands, wrists together. Rigsby's hand finally leaves the vicinity of his holster and reaches for handcuffs as he closes the distance to where Jane stands. Jane shifts his hands as Rigsby reaches for them, offering his right wrist, and Rigsby takes it and says, "You are under--"

He moves before Rigsby can finish the sentence, which would place Jane formally in his custody and make Jane's actions formally his responsibility. Rigsby never closed the thumb break over his sidearm, which makes it easy for Jane to pull it, even left-handed, though it leaves him with an awkward grip.

Rigsby yells, "Jane! What--" and then accepts the obvious, dropping Jane's right hand as well as the cuffs in order to struggle for the gun. Jane pats Rigsby firmly on the shoulder, twice, with his right hand. It's not a trigger of any kind, but it feels like one, and it draws Rigsby's attention better than a blow. Jane wins a crucial fraction of a second to correct his left-handed grip on the gun, and then Rigsby's hands close over his, trying to push the weapon away.

Even now, though, he won't immediately use his full strength, not against Jane; he has a big man's instinctive restraint. Jane uses that ruthlessly against him, pushing the muzzle of the gun toward Rigsby as he releases the safety. Rigsby naturally pushes back, so Jane drops all resistance and lets the motion jam the muzzle up under his own jaw just before he pulls the trigger. He means, as an experiment, to keep pulling for as long as he's conscious, but it turns out it's true about a bullet to the brain. One is all it takes.

Rigsby will be able to believe it's an accident when he needs to, will remember the pat on his shoulder and wonder whether he wasn't pushed to do it Jane's way. Maybe he'll even remember what Jane said and understand a little. Van Pelt will hold on to the accident theory even harder than Rigsby does; Lisbon and Cho will know it wasn't any kind of accident and even less Rigsby's fault. The team will hold together, and what's left of Rigsby's family will stay intact. Jane will do hardly any collateral damage. That will be good enough.

5.

Van Pelt already has her gun out when she says, "Jane, put the knife down."

Jane looks around for a few seconds, and then drags his left hand across his face. It just smears the blood spattered on both, drawing Van Pelt's eye for a crucial second so that he can up-sleeve the knife as he makes a motion of dropping it near his own foot. She's rattled enough to accept his empty hands when she sees them.

He offers her his hands and says, "You'll have to arrest me, I know."

Van Pelt shakes her head as she approaches, though more in general disbelief than specific negation. She lowers the gun but still holds on to it.

"Jane, how--"

She's in range and off-guard. He snaps the knife back into his hand and takes a step forward, pressing the flat of the blade to her throat. She freezes, and the words die on her lips.

"Sorry, Van Pelt," Jane says, giving her an overly charming smile. "I need your gun."

Her eyes get wide, but he takes the weapon from her easily enough.

"Killing Red John is only the first step of my plan," Jane explains, wishing he had a free hand to twirl his metaphorical mustache with. "Now I'm going to need you to close your eyes and cover them with your hands."

Her eyes search his face, because after all this time Van Pelt still believes that she can find something there that he doesn't intend for her to see. What she does find makes her eyes tear up. He nudges her stomach with the gun, and she raises her hands and covers her eyes.

Jane raises the gun, placing the muzzle firmly against her temple, and then lowers the knife.

"I just have one question for you, Grace. Will you pray for me?"

"Go to hell, Jane." Her voice shakes, and a tear slides down her cheek, past the cover of her hand.

Jane smiles. "No, come on, you don't want that to be the last thing you say to me. Try again."

Her shoulders heave, but her voice is nearly steady as she says, "Why are you doing this?"

That's better. He chooses ten words. A countdown.

"I need you to know." He raises the knife again. "You couldn't have stopped me."

He pushes harder than he did for Red John, slicing deep into his own throat on the last word he speaks. The safety's still on Grace's gun and his finger never touched the trigger; her hands fall when the spray of blood hits her. He drops the gun as he crumples down to his knees.

Grace follows him down and presses her hand to the gash in his throat. He wants to pull her hand away--the last thing he wants is pressure on the wound--but his hand presses against hers, driven by some ungovernable physical instinct.

"Jane," she says, and she's crying in earnest now. "Jane, no, Jane, you can't..."

He closes his eyes. There's nothing else he can say to her. He's getting his blood all over her hands when that was just what he didn't want, but he still can't make his own hand pull hers away.

"Jane," she says, one more time, and then her voice steadies again, following him into the dark. "Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be--"

It will be terribly hard on Grace, but at least she'll have Rigsby. Jane's managed to arrange that much. He'd rather it were anyone but Grace, but he thinks she'll survive it even if she's the one. And despite everything there's a part of Jane that likes the idea of someone who cares to pray for his nonexistent soul while he's still around to know it.


None of these is his absolute favorite fantasy, of course. He doesn't indulge in that one often, never when he's lying on the couch at the office. Only at the house, only when he's absolutely alone and free to indulge in complete foolishness, able to endure the pain that comes attached to the sweetness of the truly perfect scenario. Only then, once in a great while, does he imagine it.

He is in a room very much like this one--similarly barren, and with a horrible red smile on the wall that's been scrubbed off and painted back on more than once. Slowly he recognizes it as a hospital room. He looks around for Sophie, but Sophie doesn't come, or not Sophie as he remembers her.

The doctor who arrives congratulates him on his progress, and when pressed explains that, though the problem was a thorny one, they have finally arrived at an appropriate cocktail of medications for his condition. He has emerged at last from a state of total psychosis. He has returned to a reality entirely unlike the world he has believed himself to be living in for the past several years.

Red John, he learns, existed solely as a product of his own deranged mind. The women he imagined dead were safe in the real world. His wife is safe. His daughter.

They come to visit him at the hospital, and they are strangers to him, but kind and happy strangers, warm and safe. He tells them he loves them. They talk about him coming home, and he tells them he can't wait.

Patrick is a model patient, and shortly thereafter he is released. He hugs and kisses his daughter and puts her to bed. He sleeps through the night beside his wife.

Early in the morning, he gets up. He writes a brief note. I'm sorry, it says. I just want to keep you safe.

He takes the car to a motel, stopping at a drugstore along the way. He checks in. He writes another note. This one says, I'm in the bathroom. I apologize for the mess. Please call the police.

He takes off his clothes--jeans and a sweater, neither of which fit quite right after his long stay in the hospital--and runs a hot bath and thinks about his options. The store had a self-checkout stand, so he was able to buy a razor and sleeping pills without drawing undue attention.

He thinks for a moment about leaving it all here and going home. He could; he suddenly has the option. But in fact he has always had the option. The horrible deaths he imagined for his wife and daughter are not merely his fault, they are his creation. Red John came from his mind. Red John is a part of him. And Patrick has brought that into the house where his wife and child live. The medication is not perfect. There is no telling when he could descend into his sickness once again, and no one can say whether he will be a physical danger to them. Even if he is not, he might yet abandon them again for another long stint in the hospital.

It's not his fault, the doctors told him. It's the way his brain is wired. But he can control this, now, here. He can make sure that Red John is taken out of the world completely, and that his wife and daughter are left in it alive. Safe.

He decides to be thorough. He settles into the bath and swallows two pills, four, six, eight, ten, and his vision starts to blur drunkenly. Twelve, fourteen, sixteen, and the empty bottle hits the tile with a hollow sound, but his hand is sure when it picks up the razor. His hand slips on the first try and he is frustrated. The police--Lisbon? Cho? Rigsby? Van Pelt? He can see them standing around the autopsy table, staring down at some blond stranger and listening to the coroner's report--will see it as a hesitation mark, a sign that he was not entirely committed to his own death. His vision is darkening as he tries again, cuts deep and sure and watches the blood pour into the water.

He's finally done the right thing. He feels buoyant. He feels absolutely free.


Patrick Jane, who is still alive in this barren bedroom that reminds him why he can't die yet, falls asleep with a smile on his face.