Halloween World: Red Sky at Morning
A/N: Set in spaceman's Halloween World AU. I don't own Mentalist or ATLA. Or anything else inadvertently mentioned. Heh. Warning, crackfic. Crack.
When she tried to put a finger on what about the past two nightmare days bothered her the most, Lisbon was pretty sure it was that Cho was barefoot.
...Okay, so he was wearing earth shoes. And how that worked, Lisbon really didn't want to think about. Still. This was Kimball Cho. Walking on earth. Barefoot. The world was not supposed to work this way.
Definitely the bare feet. They were even worse than the braid, or the suddenly green eyes, or the-
She was really trying not to think about it.
"Tracked down Melissa Johnson's parents, Boss," Rigsby reported, hanging up. "They think they can make it over here. At least if it's... daylight."
Hanging up the landline, the cell phones were dead as the carved ivory around Rigsby's neck, and she'd just bet that terrifying red sky out there had something to do with it. Just a hunch. Like the feeling she had that ivory or no ivory, she wouldn't be calling Fish and Wildlife on Rigsby anytime soon. Or maybe ever.
Of all of them, Rigsby kind of - sort of - looked normal. Big, burly hulk of a man, who'd always looked like he should be on a Viking raid instead of stuffed into a CBI suit. So now he looked like he fit, dressed in blue and ivory and a whale-tooth sword. She wished she could laugh. She wished it was just a costume, and Halloween wasn't... oh, boy.
What she really wished, was that she'd never seen what had happened to the xenomorph that got between Rigsby and a fire hydrant. It'd been a man-eating monster, yes. It might even, if she remembered some director's cuts right, have been able to morph into a Queen and turn the whole coast into a Hive. But given what had happened to her team, what had happened to almost everybody they'd run into still alive since that night-
Probably just some geek dressed up for the night. Did he keep his own mind? God, I hope not, not if it was trying to eat-
Lisbon stomped on that thought, hard. It was awful. This whole mess was awful. And she wished it'd never happened. But they hadn't had a choice. Anymore than they would have if whoever the poor bastard was had been hopped up on PCP and coming at them with a knife.
Sometimes everybody loses.
Speaking of. "Did you tell the Johnsons their daughter's a little Storm?" Lisbon asked.
Terrific. "Rigsby. They need to know."
"No. They don't," Rigsby said seriously. "Not until they're here. When they can tell her, when they're right here, they can't handle it." He gave her a pleading look. "It'll be okay. She makes snowflakes. It's cute."
Water is family.
A ghost of the weirdness that had settled into her brain, and she wished, she really wished, she could let Jane hypnotize her into thinking the Kyoshi Warrior in her head was a hallucination. It'd be so much easier to deal with.
But maybe Rigsby was right. She hoped so. She did not want to deal with an upset mini X-Man in her building.
Seriously, they were lucky to have made it back to the Bureau at all. They'd been out of the city, up north of Sacramento, investigating an art theft that turned out to have been a triple theft, with an original Monet and at least two fakes trading places in a complicated shell game Jane had untangled with his usual infuriating grace. They'd just been about to put cuffs on all three of the thieves, when-
A Cylon, a werewolf, and a vampire walk into a bar...
None of her team had gotten shot. Or bitten. A good thing. Definitely.
But she still felt a little bit queasy, remembering how fast her team had taken them apart.
Though not as queasy as Van Pelt. Lisbon let her gaze stray down the office toward Jane's couch, currently empty of any ex-phony psychics. Grace held front and center stage instead, staff against the wall, swarmed with mutant and magical kids their team had picked up along the way, red hair bright against yellow and orange robes as she hugged away a little dark elf's tears.
Van Pelt can fly.
Glide. Close enough. And somehow not half as daunting as realizing Van Pelt could heal. Lisbon had seen it, when something with knives for hands had gotten past Cho's guard. Van Pelt's open-palm strike had blasted the monster away, and then she'd wrapped her hands in silvery wind and willed the earthbender whole...
Don't think about it.
"Denial can help you survive. For a while. Over the long term... it can be messy."
Her own personal headache. And did he have to sneak up on her so easily? "I'm not denying anything," Lisbon dared, staring down sea-blue eyes. At least those hadn't changed. Though maybe that was even scarier. "California's gone more nuts than usual, Cho's bringing his sister's family in here for a day or two, we will find these kids' parents... we'll deal with it. Until things get back to normal."
"Don't ah me, Jane." She poked the brilliant black and gold and red silks of a travelling carnival performer, firmly stomping the Kyoshi Warrior's whisper that red was the enemy. "Things will get back to normal."
"Nothing ever gets back to normal." The wry, slightly off smile of a man who'd walked into his own personal hell, and never quite walked out. "Too many people have died."
"That's the job," Lisbon said grimly. "We'll deal with it."
"We will?" Jane snapped an empty hand shut. Fingers lifted again, butterfly-gentle, to reveal...
Lisbon stared at the dancing flame, and tried to not to shiver. Firebender.
It fit. That was the frightening part. Golden curls and smiles and a charming laugh... and buried under it all, rage. A burning, terrifying fury, that wanted to grab an innocent world by the throat and make it bleed.
"Even if no one had been hurt, even if everything was normal again, we'd still remember." Jane's voice was quiet. His most dangerous. "We'd remember what we were, what we could do... it gives me ideas."
She didn't bother to hide that shiver. Jane had already told her what he meant to do to Red John with steel and his bare hands. With fire-
"Don't let me do it."
Lisbon stared, caught flat-footed. "Jane?"
"Killing him - well, he has to die. I will see him die. But fire..." The consultant shuddered. "I remember - it didn't really happen, but I remember one of our fortune-tellers teaching me about fire. That the Fire Sages were lying. That it was supposed to be a gift, not a curse. Life, not rage. A flame to protect your people. Your family." He searched her gaze; looked away again, as if it were too bright to bear.
"You want me to stop you from burning him alive." Lisbon didn't try to soften the words, mind racing. Damn Jane, she'd thought the world had gone crazy enough, how could he give her this one chance now, in the midst of chaos-
Got you. "You're the one who has to stop, Jane," Lisbon said levelly. "I'll help. We all will. But even if all of us piled on you and Rigsby froze you in ice - we know you, Jane. That wouldn't stop you. It'd just slow you down." Reaching out, she cupped her fingers under his, feeling the warmth of the flame. "We can keep hauling you away from the cliff. But you're the only one who can walk away."
"I hate him." Almost soundless, as flame flared and crackled.
"I hate him, too," Lisbon said bluntly. "Not like you. No one can ever hate him like you. I know that. But I hate what he did to you. What he's going to do to this team, if you can't pull off a miracle and find the strength to stop."
"A miracle." Jane risked another glance at her.
She smiled wryly. "I hear somebody used to specialize in those." No, wrong thing to say, wrong- "I know you don't believe in god. Try believing in me. We will find him." She took a deep breath, and stepped onto the edge of Jane's cliff. "And maybe, just maybe, he'll be shot trying to escape."
The flame went out. "Lisbon. Teresa. No."
"You're part of the team, Jane," Lisbon said deliberately. "You think I wouldn't do it for Cho? Or Rigsby? Or Van Pelt?"
"Under ordinary circumstances?" He regarded her carefully. "No. You believe in justice." A dry smile. "The rule of law."
And the rule of law in the Fire Nation would let Jane burn Red John to death. Just as long as he did it in an Agni Kai.
But he doesn't want to do that. He's trying to get away from that cliff. Give him something to hang onto. Lisbon chewed her lip, and let out a slow breath. "Laws on Kyoshi Island... are a little different."
That snapped his gaze to her, alarmed. "Don't," Jane protested. "You can't... you're an agent. It's wrong."
...And maybe Halloween had sprinkled a few miracles in with the catastrophes, because she knew he wouldn't have said that a month ago. "You're part of the team. Live with it." She gripped warm fingers. "Come on. Let's find some more tea."
Jane did make good tea. Even if he was freaking her out a little heating up the water without the coffeepot. Showoff.
She was just finishing off hers when the ground shook. And shook again.
Earthquake. This far north? Damn it, just when we could really use an earthbender-
A rush of familiar little kids and their worried parents came through the stairwell doors even as the rhythmic tremors continued. Braid swinging, Cho brought up the rear, stoic face notably wide-eyed. "Lisbon!"
"You brought them inside in an earthquake?" she pounced, before he could get any farther.
"Boss," he protested. "We have a problem."
Her eyes narrowed, and she waved a hand, indicating costumes, benders, chaos. "A problem?"
"Cho?" Lisbon raised an eyebrow.
Faces plastered against windows, peering toward the ominous shaking. And recoiled, from flickers of atomic green flame, and a reptilian howl unmatched save in nightmares.
"No," Lisbon said flatly.
"Oh boy," Van Pelt said faintly.
"Oh my," Jane smirked.
Rigsby swallowed, and bit the bullet. "Is that Godzilla?"
A/N: ...Because if you're in the Halloween World, you've already crossed the Godzilla Threshold.
Why the team got sucked into the four nations: they currently have no idea, but they can blame Cho's nieces and nephews, who are serious Avatar fans to the point of reading AU fanfics and thought Cho made a great Dai Li.
The CBI team post-Halloween:
Teresa Lisbon - Kyoshi Warrior.
Kimball Cho - Dai Li earthbender.
Wayne Rigsby - Northern Tribe waterbender.
Grace Van Pelt - airbender healer from Eastern Temple survivors. (I did say AU.)
Patrick Jane - firebender carnival performer who's been in and out of the Fire Nation, various colonies, and the Earth Kingdom. May or may not have actual abilities to tell the future... after all, we're not sure Aunt Wu did.
This is a one-shot, written to get insane bunnies out of my head. No idea if I'll continue it later.