They left the city life behind as the supernatural duo trudged through the soggy back garden of an extremely ancient building. The sun was still high in the sky, but both the Animus and the Sorceress seemed completely unbothered by the mid-spring heat. This was despite the fact that Jane was in one of his three-piece suits and Lisbon was in her sleek body suit and trench coat - a look Jane had commented on several times, saying that she should stop dressing like a death dealer.
It had been over a fortnight since Lisbon and Jane had left the Underworld and they were on the way to obtain some information from an informant that was willing to speak to a demon sorceress and an Animus. Jane offered a hand to his new companion as one of her combat boots got stuck in the damp mud and Lisbon gave him a small smile as she accepted it.
During his time in the Underworld, Jane had gotten an insight in Lisbon's life as an outsider living in the Underworld. While many had been civil to Jane, some even being what one might consider as "friendly", there were a few members of the demonic community that completely detested Jane's presence. It was Lisbon who had to threaten them to stand down when the comments went over the line. And though Jane had quickly proved that he was nothing short of a complete nuisance to anyone he came in contact with, Lisbon learnt to appreciate his abilities. Not once did she abandon him when the demons' glares became a bit too threatening...
While Jane did tone down his mind searching, he didn't completely cease his silent eavesdropping. Suddenly, secrets that would have stayed buried forever came undone and several truths came to light. Jane was able to solve mysteries that kept the Underworld Protection Services puzzled for centuries and catch felons that have been walking the streets untouched. Jane started to become an infamous hero among his fans, but both Lisbon and Sedah knew that Jane didn't belong in the Underworld. When the CBI lost their trail, Jane would have to return to Earth.
What Sedah did not know was that Lisbon was planning on going with him. She was determined to see to the Angel of Death's demise and she realized that her best chance wasn't to keep aimlessly flitting around like she was doing, but to join Jane in his crusade for vengeance...
As they sauntered through the muddy garden, the pair looked up at their surroundings. The house looked like it could barely stand on its own. It looked like it could be reduced to rubble in a gust of wind and that was exactly how Brett Stiles, the Empath, wanted it. To the world he worked as a charity worker, helping his local church and trying to aid people in need.
To the world filled with Demons, Wizards and things that go bump in the night, he was a man who could get you what you needed for a reasonable price and fairly quickly. The reason why he lived in a rickety house was because it wasn't the house itself he lived in. As Jane and Lisbon stood in front of the back door, the broken house's metaphorical veil slowly slipped, and revealed its true distinctiveness.
"Is this what I think it is?" Lisbon asked, genuinely surprised. Jane gave her a short smile and gestured towards the door.
"After you m'dear," Jane said as they walked through the seemingly normal doorway. The blackened room disappeared in front of them and a cleaner, more modern room materialized in its place. It looked like the reception area of a high-end business and there was at least eight other people waiting in seats.
"What is this place?"
"This is a private business run by Brett Stiles. They work like the human justice system because we Animus's don't like putting our faces in public," Jane said.
"Wizardry Law and Order," Lisbon suggested. Jane chewed the inside of his cheek to silence a snicker. The people waiting in the reception area were awaiting an Empath to be assigned to them. Similar to Animus's, Empaths were able to seek the truth. They weren't, however, able to read minds. They were limited to all and any emotions within a person – no thoughts. They could tell if someone was afraid, lying or being honest, but they couldn't read the truth itself.
Today, it was Stiles himself that Jane wanted to see. They walked up to the receptionist who looked up from her computer with a smile which quickly disappeared when she saw her latest clients. She picked up a phone on the desk and quickly pressed a button.
"Hello Brett, I've got some people to see you," she said. Lisbon gave Jane a questioning look, but he didn't say anything. The receptionist put down the phone and gestured to a frosted glass door. The pair found themselves walking down a corridor, Jane walking half a step ahead of Lisbon, who was trying to keep up while with him while speed reading the silver plaques on the doors. They came to the end of the corridor where there was a dark tinted glass door – it was very gloomy in comparison to the other doors, all wooden and painted bright colours. He knocked twice before entering without any sounds of allowance.
They entered into a large room; it was filled with a large bookcase filled with folders and books, a filing cabinet with open drawers and an unnecessarily large mahogany desk. Behind it, Brett Stiles sat, thumbing through a manila folder. The aged man had snow white hair and tinged pink skin that lined his roughened face that shielded any emotion he had to offer. Lisbon immediately didn't trust him; still, Jane seemed to think this man could be helpful. And he was the expert on these things...
"I was wondering when you would show up," Stiles said, not looking up from his musing.
"It's hard to surprise you, old friend. So I presume you know why we're here," Jane said. Stiles looked up and gave him a smirk.
"You wound me. You want to know what I know about the Angel." he said. Stiles' eyes drifted to Lisbon and his eyebrows rose in surprise.
"My god, I would never have thought I would meet someone like you," Stiles said, placing the folder on the desk and offering his hand which Lisbon ignored.
"Someone like me?" Lisbon asked, her tone more than a little bitter. Stiles realized his words were seen as an insult and began to apologize.
"Forgive me, I mean it's an honor to be in the presence of someone like yourself; not many people have the chance to meet a sorceress." Lisbon relaxed and accepted the answer, but still eyed Stiles cautiously.
"Well, now that we know each other, why don't we get down to business?" Jane said.
"Ah yes, a man on a quest as always, Patrick. Every client in this building knows about both the Angel of Death and you. Scratch that, everyone who has any form of magical ability knows about you. Sources tell me that you evaded capture from the SBI and now that I know you have this lovely lady helping you out, it makes perfect sense on how you made the daring escape," Stiles said with a small chuckle. "Now, the SBI is still on your trail, well, the three you had an encounter with. The official statement is that the SBI is still trying to find any traces of the Angel of Demon, but as you can imagine they've got nothing. The Angel's a ghost - no evidence, no trails and not a single person knows what he looks like. They may as well give up because the SBI doesn't have anyone who could go against theit and live to tell the tale," Stiles said. Jane and Lisbon looked at each other and Lisbon opened her mind.
"We came all this way to listen to something we already know?"
Stiles clearly caught onto the silent exchange and gave them a smile.
"Now that we've got the official information out of the way, let's move onto the underground news. Let's begin with the SBI agents. Their names are Agent's Kimball Cho, Wayne Rigsby, and Grace Van Pelt. Van Pelt is a technopath; she's quite impressive from what I've heard. Rigsby is a shapeshifter, which is probably why the bureau uses him for the high profile undercover cases and Cho is a phantom, someone who can become invisible and phase through solid objects. They're all still considered younglings, Cho being the eldest at five centuries. However, they seem pretty determined to track the pair of you down. Now there are two theories, number one being that they are trying to close the case of the human veggies that have recently ended up on the streets. Number two is quite intriguing, and trust me when I say this, I was surprised to hear this theory myself. The SBI is having next to no chance of find the Angel of Death and as it poses a far greater threat than a Sorceress and an Animus, the SBI agents believe that if they find you two, they'll have a better chance at catching the Angel," Stiles said as he paced back and forth behind his desk like the movement would stimulate his memory.
"You can't really think that the SBI would want us to help them. Not saying that I am considering helping them in any way," Lisbon said.
"I can sense the feeling coming from both of you. You want to get to those agents, if not for personal assistance, then to get the files the bureau has on any potential witnesses," Stiles said chuckling like he knew everything.
"We would be able to obtain the information from other sources. The SBI agents aren't capable of going up against a high level wizard, so what are the chances of them going up against whatever this Angel is?" Lisbon asked, starting to dislike Stiles slightly as he kept looking at her in a patronizing way as if he knew exactly what was going on in her head.
"I'm simply telling you that you that the SBI agents seem willing to help you in your search if you offer them an opportunity to join your ranks," Stiles said.
"There are no ranks. We're simply too people looking for the same man and we're trying to avoid formalities as much as possible," Jane said after being quiet for so long.
"And they are people trying to find a solution to a problem that is clearly affecting everyone that I have come in contact with recently. Every single person, a buried fear of the unknown. I ask you Jane as a friend, to find the Angel and get rid of it. I don't know about you but there has been this… aura that everyone seems to be able to feel. Naturally we ignore it, but it's undeniable; I can sense it in everyone, even you two. There's fear, uncertainty and something much deeper," Stiles paused.
"Do continue," Jane said.
"Kill, the desire to kill. We were never a peaceful society. Like humans, built on blood and death. We are feeling the want to destroy and once that feeling is recognized, I fear that people will start acting on their impulses. It could surely devastate the world and the existence of everything and nothing. It would end all creation."
"That's your theory on what's going on?" Jane asked, sceptically.
"Yes. It is merely a theory, but my abilities have never once been wrong before."
"I don't doubt that. That's what I'm worried about," Jane said with a sigh.
"I know I haven't been overly helpful, but I would like us to part on this note. You two are by far a pair of the strongest creatures on Earth. Make sure you keep to the path towards the Angel of Death; if either of you decided to go the other way and turned against us... It would truly mean the end for all of us."
"Well, wasn't that cheerful?" Jane asked as he sat shot gun in Lisbon's car. She gave the man an incredulous look before bringing her eyes back on the road.
"Where would you like to be chaperoned to next?" Lisbon said, deciding not to comment. Jane remained silent for a moment before answering.
"I believe you're familiar with the SBI," Jane said. Lisbon nearly drove the car into a street lamp.
"You can't be serious, Jane. That's insane and there is no way I'm going there," Lisbon said.
"Then you may as well pull over and let me out then," Jane told her. Lisbon couldn't describe how much she wanted to do that; not only to drop him off, but to reverse and run him over, regardless of the fact that there were witnesses everywhere. In spite of her hidden desires, she continued driving towards Sacramento and she could see Jane smirking in the corner of her eye. She limited herself to an eye roll as a response. While Lisbon was one of the few Underworlders that was allowed to venture above, the SBI block was somewhere she hadn't dared to visit and she had really wanted to keep it that way. But if what Stiles had said was right, the SBI could be the break they needed to find the Angel.
It was starting to get dark by the time Lisbon pulled off the main road and motored down a street that led to the Supernatural Bureau of Investigation.
"Ugh," Lisbon said as she felt a slight tug at her innards. She looked at Jane and by the look on his face, he felt the same thing.
"SBI's doing I believe; a barrier of some sorts, although I'm not sure if it's there as a warning to us or a sort of alarm system to the agents," Jane said. Lisbon stopped the car and gaped at him with disbelief.
"You knew it was here?"
"Well I'm not surprised. What Bureau of Investigation would it be if they can't even protect the fort?" Jane said.
"You can't just not tell me these things!" Lisbon said angrily as she turned the car off and pulled the keys out of the ignition.
"Would you have come if I told you beforehand?"
"Definitely not and… oh… clever aren't you?" Lisbon said sarcastically with a scowl as she watched Jane walk towards the tall building.
The feeling of unease grew worse and worse the closer Lisbon got to the building. They were the only ones in the outdoor car park and it was silent. The roads were empty and even the security guards were absent from the front gate. They entered the building and the lobby was also empty. Lisbon and even Jane started to feel nervous and if they were human police enforcers, now would be the time to whip out the hand guns. Everything in Lisbon's body was telling her to get out and she knew that this wasn't going to go down well. They took the stairs instead of the elevator and searched the first couple of floors, but they were bare or life forms.
"Have you mentally searched the building?" Lisbon asked as they trudged up the stairs.
"You wound me, Lisbon..." He brought a hand to his heart as if she had stabbed him in it. "Of course I have and it's telling me they're here… I just don't know where. I think they know what I am and are shielding their minds. Best not to probe any harder, don't want to frighten the kids." The pair exited the stairway and found themselves on the Serious Crimes floor. The layout was similar to every other floor they had been on but Jane felt the presence was stronger here.
They're here aren't they?
Lisbon must've seen Jane's eyebrows furrow, a habit that she had picked up on. It would mean his mind was hitting a block and he was trying to push past it. Jane simply nodded and walked down the corridor and into what appeared to be a bullpen, a bullpen that was occupied by four individuals.
"So, I'm assuming you're the head of the CBI. Madeline Hightower, right?" Jane asked. Lisbon hadn't the faintest idea who the woman was so she remained silent and stayed behind Jane.
"Animus, Patrick Jane," Hightower said cautiously. She was clearly afraid of the man who was eyeing her agents, but kept her cool and collected shield up. The agents themselves looked like they wanted to catapult themselves from the room; especially, from what Lisbon could tell, the pretty redheaded woman and the tall man. The Asian man at their side appeared to be calm though. Lisbon wasn't sure what to do, so she decided to let Jane take the reins this time. She wasn't one to negotiate with people she didn't know or trust. The nerves she had been taught to ignore had surfaced and were making her increasingly agitated. It made her wonder why she agreed to follow Jane in the first place.
Van Pelt, Rigsby and Cho POV
Hightower and Jane were having the mother of all staring matches and it looked like they were mentally trying to implode each other. None of them had seen their boss like this; the usually calm and collected woman was on edge and tried to keep her eyes on both the Animus and the Sorceress. The dark-haired woman, despite her obvious abilities that could turn the situation very nasty, looked as concerned as the agents. Van Pelt let her eyes wander away from her boss and then locked her gaze with the Sorceress. She didn't see the fearsome creature she imagined, capable of world destruction; she just saw a woman cast into a world of death, loss and corruption. Van Pelt had never met a demon and the Sorceress was apparently raised by them. But she didn't seem evil or scary. She seemed like a soldier; someone who wanted the same things that she wanted, for the horrors of the world to end and for justice to take its place.
Rigsby watched the Sorceress's eyes soften as she looked at his co-worker whose shoulders looked like they were starting to relax. He knew Van Pelt always had good character judgment and if she was calming down then he knew it was safe, for now.
Cho, on the other hand, felt that he couldn't trust Jane nor his Sorceress friend, despite what his co-workers were feeling. They were no longer standing stoically, but were shifting side to side impatiently. As if this showdown wasn't considered stressful or life-threatening anymore. But he wouldn't let himself be naive enough to forget who they were dealing with and what these two people before them could do...
"Jane, enough. I thought we were here to discuss the situation," the Sorceress said softly.
"Quite right. I believe you haven't met my friend here. This is Miss Teresa Lisbon – she's a Sorceress, if you haven't picked up on that yet," Jane said.
"Lisbon," Hightower nodded almost respectfully. "Yes, we do have many things to discuss. I have dismissed the rest of the agents and we won't be disturbed until tomorrow morning."
"Excellent. That means we better get a move on then," Jane said. "But before we start, would you have any tea by any chance?"
Okay...where to start. I know you lot don't want one of those massive apology A/N's so I'll keep it simple. I've just been working hard lately and I would slowly add to this when I would get sick of studying. I'll try not to keep them this short but it was the best I could do. Thanks for everyone who bothered to keep in touch with this. Thanks to my beta! Thanks to SK2 who would check in on me every now and then to make sure I was still functioning like a human being.