Craig O’Laughlin is a laidback kind of guy. Sure he catches bad guys, good guys and not-so-good guys, he spends his days in cheap suits that smell like cheap coffee; spends his days gritting his teeth at Patrick Jane’s smug smirks; wondering what gym Kimball Cho goes to; questioning if Wayne Rigsby is a moron or a psychopath masquerading as a moron. Craig wonders if Teresa Lisbon hears the whispers around her, wonders if she knows that she’ll be tossed onto the scrap heap if Patrick Jane ever decides to walk away from the CBI.
The one thing that he does not wonder about is Grace van Pelt; it makes it easier for him to pretend that he’s in love with her.
Despite all of that, Craig is always calm and collected, unless he’s faking it. He’s an FBI agent by day (and sometimes night) and a killer by night (and sometimes day). Craig works for Red John. Well, it’s more that he kills for Red John, but that’s just semantics. Red John understands him. He understands all of Craig’s theories and opinions. Red John gets him. Red John is the one who helped him understand the concept of layers.
Craig is all about layers. He has multiple and complex layers; everyone does, he just knows how to make sure that his overlap.
So, he murders people.
He catches bad guys, good guys and not-so-good guys.
And he does gardening.
It sounds silly. He’s tough, he’s macho, and he’s a killer. Yet he spends a ridiculous amount of time tending to the vegetable patch behind his house. He grows onions, more onions and even more onions.
Onions have layers, multiple and complex layers that overlap in all the right places. Craig doesn’t mind comparing himself to an onion.
Onions are special.
They’re a part of healing, a part of life.
Craig might be a bad person, but only in the same way that an onion might be bad on the outside. An onions outer layer can be peeled off, and so can Craig’s.
Some days, he grabs a couple of onions and chops them apart, throws them into the blender. Onions don’t always get a chance to go bad. They’re diced, chopped, hell they’re ripped out of the ground – killed.
So on that fateful day when he ruins Red John’s master plan, when he gets caught (shot by the woman he’s been pretending to love, dammit). His eyes catch on the chain around her neck, the one that Red John insisted Craig give her. The one layer of himself that he’d never revealed before.
He finds himself thinking of the last layer of an onion.
This piece of jewellery is his last layer.
Some people cover the last layer of an onion with sugar and honey and make syrup.
Grace is staring at him, with pain in her tear-filled eyes but Craig can’t find it in himself to care.
He doesn’t like onion syrup, and in this case Grace is the sugar, she’s the honey and Craig wants neither of those things on his last layer.
Craig wants it to be pure.
He reaches out and pulls the necklace from her neck and for a second he’s back in his garden, back checking the pH of the soil. He’s back making sure that he has the right fertiliser, back with his shovel, digging up the ground, wiping his soil stained garden gloves on his brow.
He’s back home. But it’s dark and the lights are off.