Disclaimer: 'The Mentalist' is not mine…but a girl can dream.
Summary: Angela Jane has spent the last six years living as 'Annie Freeman' after being attacked by Red John. Presumed dead by all who knew her, she was taken into the WITSEC program until the time when they would call on her to help solve the case once and for all.
A/N: This is a oneshot.
I flinched, nearly dropping the pile of sheet music I was carrying. Mrs. Jane; no one had called me that in years… Turning to see the man who'd spoken, I was greeted with the sight of a tall, slim man of fifty at the most, with graying hair and deeply tanned skin. The man wore a hideous red necktie with a black two-piece suit. It wasn't the eight hundred dollar suit that caught my eye, though; it was the shiny gold badge dangling from his belt. This man was a Marshal. Lovely. "How may I help you, Marshal?" I asked with as genuine of a smile as I could manage due to my surprise.
The officer smiled slightly, "Mrs. Jane, I'm Marshal Darius Cohen." He offered me his hand to shake. I took it; he had a firm yet gentle grip. Removing his hat, obviously stressed, the Marshal sighed.
I pursed my lips, not in the mood to 'beat around the bush.' "Whatever it is, Marshal Cohen, spit it out. I'm in no mood for suspenseful stories." I shifted the stack of music in my arms.
"Ma'am, Marshal Owens and Marshal LeHane, your supervisory officers—They've been killed…Murdered."
"Oh." I shut my eyes, attempting to block the horrible images that had entered my mind. My dear friends cut and bleeding beneath a haunting red smiley face… I took a deep breath, attempting to calm my shaking hands as I placed the music onto the table beside me. Two good people that had given me so much more than I deserved were dead because of me.
When I could open my eyes, I asked, "Was it him?"
Him. Red John. The monster that had ruined my life.
"They believe so, Ma'am." He answered sadly, pressing his lips together to form a thin line. I nodded wordlessly, unable to speak. Marshal Cohen continued, "Director Sinclair has ordered me to take you to Sacramento—"
All of the breath that was left in me was gone in a rush, "What? Why?"
"He believes that you could be of more help to the CBI if your status was made public. They would have something on Red John. Maybe even be one step ahead the creep." I nodded, knowing that I would have no choice in the matter.
I was terrified. If the fact that my death had been faked became public knowledge, there was no telling what Red John would do. I was the only person that had ever survived one of his attacks and I'd spent the last six years wishing he'd killed me that night. He'd taken me from everything that I'd known; my daughter, my home, my husband…and no one knew that I was alive, not even Patrick; especially not Patrick.
"I—I understand." I cleared my throat, "I'll go get packed, then."
When I was halfway up the stairs, Marshal Cohen spoke again, "If it makes any difference, Ma'am, I sincerely wish that you didn't have to do this."
I turned back, nodding slightly before continuing the task ahead; I needed to verify that this man was who he claimed to be. I wasn't just going to jump because he said that he was a Marshal. Anyone can buy a damned badge at a truck stop and call themselves an officer of the law.
Once I reached my room, I shut the door quietly, hanging on to the knob for an extra moment so that the tiny click was barely audible. I locked the door for good measure. I went straight for my cell phone, scanning through my contacts until I found the entry titled 'Dad.' It rang twice before a gruff voice answered. "Hello?"
"Director Sinclair, did you send a Marshal to fetch me away to Sacramento?" I couldn't keep the discontent from my voice. I'd left that life behind six years ago after my daughter had been murdered. I had no desire to return to it in a rush. Alright, maybe a little…
"Angela, you have to understand—" He cleared his throat before continuing, "The CBI is no closer to catching Red John than they were six years ago. You are the best source of information on the bastard that we have!"
"So you did send a Marshal to fetch me?" I spat the word. It was one thing to ask me to give him a hand; it was another to spring something like this on me. "No. No! You screwed my life up once. You're not doing it again! I have done everything you asked and more—"
"Mrs. Jane. This is another one of those times when you don't have a choice."
The flight from Albuquerque to Sacramento was horrible. I spent two hours tearing napkins to pieces while staring right through horrible B-movie that seemed to be stealing my soul. Every once and a while, Marshal Cohen would ask if I was alright. My answer was always the same, "I'm fine," I would say, when in fact I was the polar opposite.
As far as I knew, no one knew that I was arriving. No one knew I was alive, save a select few in the Marshal Service. I knew that being afraid of the reactions I would receive upon my arrival was a little childish, but I was petrified with fear. I knew the questions they would ask. Why didn't you call? I know it's the rules, but— Where were you? Are you alright? How is this even possible? Sadly, I didn't have answers to any of them.
My heart leapt into my throat as the tiny screech of the breaks woke me from my fear-induced stupor when we pulled up to the CBI office in downtown Sacramento. "How are you doing?" Marshal Cohen asked a few moments later as the doors of the elevator slid shut.
I laughed humorlessly grabbing the bar for support when the elevator lurched to life. "Lets' just say I've been better."
"Its late enough that only Agent Lisbon's team should be left. Director Sinclair already informed Agent Hightower; Hightower asked them to work the nightshift so that you wouldn't be mobbed…"
I snorted, "How considerate." The elevator groaned to a stop. I moaned, "I think I'm going to be sick."
Marshal Cohen smiled a bit, "Don't make me drag you…" The doors slid open to reveal an empty, now-dimly-lit office. Steering me out of the elevator with a hand resting lightly on my shoulder, the Marshal led me through a hall framed by glass to a bullpen like setup of an office near the back. A red haired young woman was working nearest the door, typing away on her computer while a slightly older man with brown hair and an Asian man played a water version of beer pong on one of their desks. A stern looking older woman with dark hair came striding out of her office with purpose right before a dark skinned woman, obviously an authoritative figure to all of them by the way I was reading their body language, followed her out.
"Jane?" I flinched as she called out my last name.
Apparently she wasn't speaking to me, as a muffled yawn followed by a tired sounding "I'm up!" came from the direction of the lounge looking area. It was a voice I hadn't heard in years, but I'd yearned for every day and night… A blond, curly haired man wearing a navy blue pinstriped suit shot up from the brown leather couch and came bounding over to stand with the team. Patrick. My husband. Looking the same as ever…
"Wait for just a moment." Cohen ordered, tugging slightly on my shoulder as we stayed concealed behind the wall.
"Alright people, listen up." The woman who I assumed was Hightower paused, "You too, Rigsby."
"Yes, Ma'am." The younger brown haired man responded automatically with a slightly sheepish expression.
"I know you're all wondering why I've asked you to work the nightshift for the second week in a row…" She took a deep breath, clasping her hands in front of her, "There's been a recent break in the Red John case—" My heart was racing.
"No offense, Agent Hightower, but wouldn't we know if there was a break in the case, seeing as we're the ones that are working it?" The dark haired woman asked, confused.
"Let me finish, Lisbon." Hightower said grimly, "There's been a break in the case…involving the Marshal Service…"
"The Marshal Service? Is there a witness that we don't know about?" The man called Rigsby asked, half excited-half confused. Hightower looked toward us, nodding us in.
With his arm around my shoulders, Cohen ushered me into the room. "Not exactly."
Patrick had been focusing on something else, so Agent Lisbon was the first to recognize me. "Oh my God." Her hand went to the cross at her neck before going to Patrick's arm.
Patrick slowly looked up, the smile still on his face from whatever he'd been doing as he met my eyes. His expression turned so that it was almost pained. All of the blood drained from his face as he took in my profile, eyes widening in disbelief. I couldn't breathe. Oh God, I couldn't breathe. My legs threatened to turn to jell-o as Cohen guided me further into the room.
"I thought you were dead." The Asian man said bluntly.
"So did I." I couldn't stand to look at Patrick any longer, so I looked to Hightower while she continued.
"Mrs. Jane has agreed to help us with the investigation."
"Ah—I haven't agreed to anything." I crossed my arms, "Marshal Cohen, here, was ordered to drag me here, if need be, by the director of the Marshal Service." I patted him on the arm while extricating myself from his grip, "No offense." He shrugged good-naturedly. I cleared my throat, looking to Hightower while trying to keep my poker face from slipping. "Do you have anything yet on the situation with the Marshals?"
"It was Red John, without a doubt. That's all we know for certain…"
That brought a humorless chuckle, "Agent Hightower, Red John has been playing you and Director Sinclair like fiddles."
"Excuse me?" Well, there goes the whole 'no offense thing.'
I crossed my arms, smirking as I rolled my eyes, "Did it ever occur to you that this was exactly what he wanted? By bringing the news of my 'death' into the public eye, you're going to give him more publicity than ever. More fear, more power…and here I thought you might be good at your job." I tossed the fakes smile I could manage with my nerves on end and headed for the closest thing for a safe haven that the station seemed to offer; a kitchen.
I could hear Marshal Cohen apologizing for me while I searched the cupboards for any sign of tea. He was explaining that I'd just found out about Sinclair's orders a few minutes before I was shoved on a plane and asked to risk my life to find a serial killer. "Ha!" I exclaimed triumphantly as I threw open one of the small doors to reveal several teabags filled with an Earl Gray mix. Taking one of the few remaining styrofoam cups from the counter, I filled it with hot water before sloshing the teabag around in it a few times, watching it sink to the bottom.
As long as I focused on the teabag, I wouldn't have to think about Patrick.
Deep breaths, Angela. Deep breaths. Everything will be fine. Everything is always fine…Except for when it isn't.
I took a sip of the tea. Weak but scalding.
"Mrs. Jane?" I jumped nearly a foot in the air at the sudden sound of Marshal Cohen's soft baritone voice, barely managing to keep a secure hold on my cup of tea. I steadied myself on the counter, placing my cup down to get a better grip. "I'm going to brief the team in Agent Hightower's office. Let me know if you need anything." Translation: 'Go talk to your husband. Now.'
I nodded. I waited until I heard all of the footsteps retreat and the muffled closing of a door before I dared turn to face my husband.
Patrick was waiting in the same place he'd been when I'd stormed out of the bullpen. Unmoving, Patrick's eyes never left me as I approached him and came to a stop less than two feet in front of him. "Hello." I managed, heart in my throat. The expression he wore was breaking my heart.
Smiling sadly, his hand shook as he reached out to stroke my face, "You're here."
Tears brimmed in both our eyes as I reached up to hold his hand there, "Yeah." I whispered, nodding. Patrick enveloped me into his arms, squeezing me almost to the breaking point. I could feel the warm wetness of tears as he rested his chin on top of my head. He took a deep breath; in and out. It was as if he was breathing for the first time in years. I smiled, burying my face into his shoulder as my own tears began to spill over. "I'm here."