Author: little_firestar (aka LizFromItaly on fanfiction.net)
Link to art: http://aprilvolition.livejournal.com/104743.html
Word Count: +34.300 (plus author's note)
Rating: T (to be on the safe side)
Summary: The past: a man, trying to rebuild his life; two boys, with no love, born only to be exploited, and two teenagers, stars in their own way in the carnie. Today: a doctor of many things, trying to make up for his mistakes; the most notorious serial killer in California’s history; a young man, made cynical by life; a professional stuntman, no longer under the spotlights; a former psych, now a consultant for the CBI, looking for vengeance. Patrick Jane is about to discover the true evil behind Red John, and a world he never knew existed.
Disclaimer: sadly, neither The Mentalist nor Marvel's Characters belong to me, although I'm writing fanfics about the both of them from years.... what's mine it's the plot, though.
Notes: First of my two Mentalist Big Bang Fanfic; X-Over with the Marvel Universe, no knowledge needed.
Storie's un-beated, so, all misatkes are mine. Many thanks to aprilvolition for providing the amazing art and the last sentence of the summary.
[Prologue] [Chapter One] [Chapter Two] [Chapter two.Five] [Chapter Three] [Chapter Four] [Chapter Five] [Chapter Six] [Chapter Seven] [Chapter Eight]
Sitting on the seaside in front of the mansion where Red John found his final rest, Grace-Margali- embraces her legs, face hidden between her knees, crying, repeating in her own mind the same words again and again.
She hates Daimon for having asked her to do this. She hates herself because she has accepted, she hates Grace, the real one, the one who lost her soul leaving just a living empty shell behind, for having embraced the dark side so fully to dedicate her life to obscure forces behind reason, and she hates herself because she did the same thing when she was barely a child herself, sacrificing what she used to hold dearest, her sons and her daughter, to become the sole ruler of Limbo and mistress of the Winding Way.
She sacrificed the life she could have had with Kurt, Amanda and Stephen, Stephen, the oldest but more naïf, who craved her love and attention, who felt so alone and so misunderstood to fall victim to the devil’s machinations, turned into a devil himself, a monster body and soul, a monster so powerful that only the living most powerful sorceress was able to stop him, killing and destroying him. His own mother.
And now… now she doesn’t have her children any longer, she doesn’t have her magic any longer, and she doesn’t have her… whatever the CBI was for her any longer. She probably doesn’t have Wayne as well any longer. And, it should be right, it is right. She doesn’t deserve him. Wayne is a good man, a pure heart, so pure that Hela accepted something so simple as her magic to bring him back, to avoid Valkyrie from accompanying him to Valhalla. He is a pure of heart and she has lied to him for… for years. About her heritage, about her magic, about why she couldn’t be with him, why she broke up in the first place, and why she decided to date and then marry Craig.
She has never lied to him about her feelings, though. That’s the only thing she has always been honest with him about, her love for him. Because there are few things she can’t fake, facts she can’t forget, like that first day, sitting awkwardly at her desk, unused to the feeling of being yet again a mortal and one that cute, and then, this young man, approaching her, her eyes meeting the most gorgeous ones she had ever met in thousands of years of life. Here he was, Wayne, introducing himself, dark, tall, handsome, and sweet and caring. She remembers him, shaking her hand, the silk skin of her, young and not used to any hard work, meeting the rough and callous of his own, the electricity almost visible right from the start. She still smiles, remembering that she blushed. And Margali Szardos had never blushed before…. But Margali Szardos had never been in love before.
She has loved her husband, Stephen and Amanda’s father, Sergey, of a tender love, but their love was more sibling-ish then passionate. After all, he was the one her parents took for her, she never chose him, that was how it was back when she was younger, and she got to be quite fond of him, and it hurt when he died, but… but it didn’t break her heart, didn’t make her whish to go to Hel herself to save him. But for Wayne? She did it for him, and she’d do it again and again, even if he was no longer hers.
Even if he is no longer hers, because she may not be the mistress of his heart any longer, but he is still the sole master of her own. Because, as much as she has tried to fight it, she has fallen for him, and she can’t do anything about it. She fell for him that day, years prior at the CBI, and she is still in love with him, even after years that they are no longer together.
She finally allows the tears to run free, albeit silently, collapsing onto the sand, her body caressed by the soft and chilly waves of the oceanic water, crying for what it is, crying for what it was and for what it has never been and what it will never be…. her children, now adults, grown up without a mother, Stephen, lost forever, Grace, who renounced to her soul and her life to be allowed into the devil’s arms, all the life destroyed by Blackheart, his victims, the ones who survived, like Jane, the fallen ones, like Bosco, the lost souls, like Rebecca and Craig, and yes, she cries for herself as well, trapped into a body that doesn’t belong to her with no way out, in a life that doesn’t belong to her, her magic gone, lost forever, the last of her people, and Wayne and Craig… she loved (loves) one, liked the other, but is still suffering for both, even if Craig…
And now, she has probably lost them both, Craig to death, a bullet fired by herself to save Madeline Hightower and her family and Lisbon, and Wayne because of herself. Because of her lies. Because she has lied to him almost the whole time, about everything but one thing—her feelings, she has never lied about her love for him.
“Margali?” she jolts, breathing dying in her throat as she lifts her head, and here he is, Wayne, standing still at her side, longing and desperation and sweetness in his warm eyes, like liquid amber.
“Well, as the others probably told you…Right soul, wrong body” she smiles a little, blushing, hiding yet again her face, this time with the cascade of her red hair, unable to move as he sits at her side, a warm smile gracing his features. She had forgotten this side of him, but has decided just now she’ll never do this mistake again, she’ll imprint this image, so beautiful and happy, in her memory palace for the rest of her days. “What?”
His smile deepens, and he almost laughs, grinning as he traces her features with a single finger. He chooses to not answer her with words, preferring to take action, something he should have done a long time before, maybe right from the start.
His lips find her owns, and suddenly she is on her back, Wayne’s weight, his body covering her own, her arms around his neck on their own volition, his hands at work rediscovering her body, her curves, her skin, feeling her up, both busy making out like teenagers in hormonal crisis while the chilly oceanic water of the early morning tickles their bodies making them adhering in all the right places like there was almost no fabric at all.
“I can’t… we shouldn’t…. I’m not… I’m not her, and I…” she cries, her tears weeping his skin as she breaks free from his passionate kisses, trying to put, and maintain, some distance between them, her arms keeping him in his place, palms warm on his chest, a nice contradiction with the cold and wet clothes. He stays where he is, and stares at her in the sweetest way possible, like… intrigued, or busy studying her.
And then, he laughs.
He laughs, and nuzzles her neck, her hair, his voice a happy whisper, like honey, sweet and tender and happy and cheerful, in one word, just Wayne. “Oh, silly, silly, silly woman… how can’t you see it? How couldn’t you see it? It has never been about Grace. I never met her. I met you. I loved you. I love you!”
“Even if I know I’ll never be able to fully forgive myself and I’ll never be worth your forgiveness for the pain and the lies you had to endure because of what I am?”
He takes her chin between two fingers, lifting it so that she could see in his eyes and right through him, their faces just a breath away. He wants her to know why he is doing it, why he is willing to give her as many chances as she’ll need, and he needs to make her understand it’s not because of what she did for him, but for so many reasons…. “I love you because of who you are, Margali, and because of what you are willingly to endure for me and for the others, for the ones you love…. And for people you never met and never will…I don’t care if your name is Margali or Grace, you can be whoever you want. But I need you to be mine.”
She smiles, tears in her eyes shining in the first light of the early morning sun.
“Even if I am a few centuries old former immortal, who has been a gipsy for the majority of her life, was a witch and ruled a dark dimension and had 3 children?” she pouts, faking a shyness she is far from feeling right now.
He nods with nonchalance, smiling, and closes the distance between them, kissing her with a smile, a smile on her lips, a smile on his ones as they smile and laugh and kiss tenderly like youngsters, and when the sun is fully up, they are still busy with their fervent activities, busy committing each other to memory, making new ones and remembering old ones, remembering the feeling of owning someone else and being owned in return , getting lost in them, melting into them.
On the terrace, Jane studies them, envies them, the weight of loss and failure, of that missing piece, that hole in the heart that will never be filled completely ever again relieved only by the warm and compassionate hands on his arms, the chest pressed against his back in a manner that has nothing to do with sexual intimacy but everything with being comfortable around each other, the chin on his shoulder, the nose nuzzling his neck, the raven hair caressing his face. His rock, his anchor, his light at the end of the tunnel, a pure heart, maybe not as pure as the one of the man saved from Hel but even purer in his eyes, his shoulder to cry on, to rely on, the closest he has to family, the only one he fully considers family, his hope for the future. Lisbon.
“Looks like the formerly known as Margali Szardos of the Winding Way has already decided what she’ll do with the rest of her very mortal and human life…” they both turn in direction of the voice, right at their back, and here he is, Jonny, strolling towards them with utter and complete nonchalance. Human again, behaving like the last few hours never happened, like they never saw him like he.. like that other part of him truly is. “C’mon Paddy, I told you the Rider usually works at night, and, anyway, where were you when I was explaining that I’ve learned to control it? When there’s no pure evil and sin incarnated looking for tasting vengeance, that it is”
He gets closer and closer, until he is at their side, his back against the balustrade, grinning and looking mischievously at the duo, laughing behind his teeth, his eyes focused on the blushing face of Agent Lisbon, who lets it go physically of Jane, like the man that hides behind the blazing skull of the Ghost Rider could burn her through Jane’s clothes even like a human. “I’m sorry, Teresa, but I don’t usually bite. Of course, if you asked me to, I could make an exception for you, but only this once; no, I’m not the Rider right now and no, I’m not burning of some kind of invisible fire; I’ve never met God but I’d say he exists, considering that I met the Devil and that I happen to be a fallen angel incarnated, and yes, as far as I know, when I’m Johnny Blaze, I can die, since the burden of the Rider can be passed, but whatever it would allow it or not, it’s a mystery even for me, sweetheart”
She blushes even more, and hides at Jane’s other side, her hand on his shoulder, gripping it, feeling under her fingertips his tense but somehow well defined muscles relaxing. She wonders how Blaze did it, reading her mind like that, like Jane does all the time, annoying her and getting the mantle of thorn in the side... Is he like Jane, or did he simply took few of his tricks while they grow up together in the carnie? Or, among the other things, being the Ghost Rider makes him a psych? Because, after this night, she is ready to believe to them as well. Or maybe he is an empathic, or a telepath?
Or maybe the consultant has always been right, and she is simply translucent, so translucent that Blaze doesn’t need to be a mentalist to read her like an open book.
“Teresa, sweetheart, if you don’t mind, I’d need a moment alone with our boy wonder Paddy here, pretty please….” She blushes when she realizes Blaze is asking and flirting with her. She wonders why- she knows she is not exactly the kind of woman that makes heads turn when she walks, so, is it to annoy her, annoy Jane, or just because he is a flirt and he thought she is worth his attention? Definitely to annoy Jane. And why Blaze thinks Jane could be annoyed by someone flirting with her, is beyond her comprehension.
Fact is, when she turns to ask Jane if he is ok with her leaving, she sees it, with a smile of triumph she can’t even try to hide. He is annoyed by the whole thing. And she doubts he can understand how good it feels for her knowing such a detail, that when men focus on her he is annoyed and maybe, just maybe, a little… jealous, even.
“Sure, I have to go to talk with the others anyway, trying to built a valuable story to why we have a dead body. I think I’ll ask Strange if he can…do whatever he does to make it look like heart attack. An heart attack would explain the lack of bullets, and we don’t have bullets. Not on him, anyway. Well, we don’t have any fatal bullet fired at Red John, at least…”
They look at her leaving, in complete silence. Lisbon is no longer at hearing distance when they resume their speeches.
“You know, Paddy, I think you should stay where you are right now” the biker states calm, crossed arms, like he was talking about the weather and not life-altering decisions.
Jane mimics his long lost friend’s positions, and laughs a little of a nervous laughter, turning then sideway to have a good look at the expression of the Zen-ish biker, always calm and reasonable in this new version of his. He finds Johnny is, indeed, serious, in his predicament, and his eyebrows reach his hairline, and all he can do is looking at the other man dumbstruck. “With all due respect, but I’m not sure that spending the rest of my life in the same place where my nemesis found his ultimate death thanks to the combined efforts of the banished from Hell son of Satan, the fallen form grace angel of vengeance, the deposed Sorcerer Supreme, a princess Faery and the soul of a sorceress trapped into the body of a believer that happens to be Grace van Pelt… well, I’m not the sanest person of this planet, but I’m not such a masochist either…”
Blaze stares at him, unbelievably, feelings going from annoyed to plain disappointed. Because that’s dear old Paddy here, and dear old Paddy isn’t getting it. Or maybe he doesn’t want. Or maybe he is just faking it to annoy Johnny for having annoyed him with the whole flirting with Lisbon thing.
Or maybe he is still in shock and it’s the shock talking. Even if the biker would prefer having him annoyed. It was his plan, after all, flirting with the sexy brunette dear old Paddy is so fond of to annoy him and make him see things in a different light.
“I’m talking about your soul, you dumbass”
“Johnny, you disappoint me! Don’t you remember, I don’t believe in things such as souls and psychs!”
“And yet, in the last few days, you meet two sons of the devil and the human incarnation of an angel. And you were the one telling me you’d never made fun of dear sweet Teresa ever again because she does believe..”
“Uh, yeah, well, I said so, so I guess you kind of have a point….” Jane laughs a little, with his lips, with his eyes, with his heart. It’s just been few hours, but he can already feel it, a bit at least, the weight being lifted from his shoulders, a tiny piece of that hole closing, slowly, but closing nevertheless. It’s good, being able to laugh for real again, being able to be happy for real again, it’s good being back… or being a brand new person, because he has never been like this, not back then, not…before. “So, what’s that, God’s advice for the rest of the days of my sorry excuse of a life?”
“Ah, I told you we never met. Why bother, with the Rider being judge, jury and executioner? Which brings us back to the main topic, why you should stay here, with them” he pauses, and turns to face his long time friend, suddenly once again serious. “Patrick, the Ghost Rider looked right through your eyes, and you passed his judgment. I know what you think of yourself, I know you think you were evil and you never fully changed, but you are wrong. I saw you back then, and I see you now. You’ve never been a saint, but I know evil, and evil you are not. You are human, and there’s not a person alive who doesn’t have sin in them…. But not everyone deserve punishment. You didn’t, you still don’t, and you know why?”
“Because I’m not evil but just a plain sinner?”
The other nods. “Yep, and because you changed, man. You walked the path of sufferance in life, Paddy, you damned yourself on this Earth, and left that world of destruction at your back with their help, walking at her side and allowing her to fight with you by seeing who you were and turning into what you could be for her.”
He stills, rather uncomfortable, hands in his pockets, eyes focused on Teresa, on Lisbon, just few meters away from him, inside the hall of the rich mansion by the sea, right before the balcony, busy talking with Cho, Strange and Megan, probably trying to figure out a way to make it look like differently form what it is in truth, a matter of occultism.. “I didn’t do it just for her, you know? I did it… well, you said it yourself, I’m not evil. And change is good, was good for me”
“Oh, yeah, and hot lady cop over there has nothing to do with your sudden crisis of conscience…” ha leaves out a little suppressed laughter, probably to try to make a point with Jane. “Face it, Paddy, you may have gone to them because of Red John, but you’ve stayed with them, and you’ve gotten to care about them, see them as your family. Her in particular.”
They friendly and brotherly banter. He has missed it, Jane realizes. He has it, of course, with Lisbon, but with Johnny is different. Because, in some ways, Johnny is just like him, they are brothers, not in blood but because of where life drove them to, places and things and people. They shared a lot when they were younger, both living in the carnie, and still now, after so long, there are things that keep together, in a way neither of them have ever foretold or imagined….like Blackheart’s presence in their lives.
There’s definitely no such a thing as coincidences.
“Meh, I may like to spoil her from time to time, but not everything I do is to make her smile or put, you know. Even if I have to admit that she has the cutest put…”
“Well, then maybe I should try to convince her to give me a chance? She seems to like quite a lot us carnie people, and I’m pretty sure she likes me in particular, she gave me such hot looks…. Wonna see if I’m right?”
“Nah, she has too much class for a brute like you. Besides, why should such an angelic creature like Teresa Lisbon accompany herself with a man who basically looks like a devil? She needs a gentleman, quite old fashioned, with class and style and extremely good looking but slightly dangerous…”
“Well, Strange is a good man, I think he could make her happy. If he breaks up with his nurse girlfriend, that it is.” The man who is host to the Rider laughs, and doesn’t even stop when his friend hits him playfully on the shoulder, if only it gets better, the laughter intensified by Jane shaking his hand, slightly hurt after having forgotten the metallic shoulder-pads.
But it ends, as suddenly as it started, and once again is Zen-ish Johnny to regain his composure first. Only, this time, as he talks, he isn’t facing Jane, but is looking at his own feet, almost… scared, serious. And when he talks, he does such using Jane’s first name, fully, something that doesn’t go unnoticed, and that hides a deep meaning. “Patrick, I looked at you when I was the Rider, and if you are still here, it’s because he has judged you not worthy punishment and vengeance. Next time I’ll see you, if I’ll see you again, I want for things to be still this way, ok? So make me a favor, and stay here for a while, at least try to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life before running to hide in some corner at the other side of the world. She is a good friend, I’m sure she’ll help you figure out everything in due time, and she is a believer, which is never bad. Who knows, maybe a bit of faith could work miracles for dear old Patrick Jane….”
He walks away, without saying a proper goodbye, leaving Jane’s life just as he entered it once again, in the blink of an eye.
The mentalist just nods, even if his friend is no longer there at his side, maybe just to convince himself that this is what he needs, the right thing to do. He watches around himself, breathing in and out, his eyes focused on the people all around him, Johnny, just a silhouette close to his bike, Rigsby and Grace- Margali, he corrects himself, smiling a little – kissing and hugging on the warm sand in front of the ocean, Cho busy talking with Strange and the young fairy, and Teresa, there with them, her eyes, though, turned to look at him, a warm crimson smile gracing her gentle features.
He smiles, of a not so secret smile, so happy he is close to tears, tears of happiness for the first time in his life. He runs his hands through his rebellious curls, and then strolls towards the cop he knows so well after almost a decade at her side, Lisbon already walking towards him with questioning eyes, ready to meet him halfway like she has done so many other times in the past.
Sunrise is completely over, a new, bright and cloudless day has finally started, blessing them with warm rays caressing their skin. The night, and the nightmare, are finally over, freeing them from the prison that has took them all prisoners for way too long. It feels like the first day of his life, and maybe it is, because that’s the first day he has as a fully free man.
This simple yet incredible fact isn’t as scary as he has always thought it would have been, and for the first time in almost a decade, Patrick Jane craves a bed, and a peaceful sleep. Now he can close his eyes, sleep, rest and maybe even dream, dream of beautiful and happy things that were and of things yet to come.
And the possibility of crossing roads with the spirit of vengeance and punishment again doesn’t pass through his mind, not once. After all, Johnny told him so as well- these people are good for him, she is good for him, and letting it go of them, of her, of the here and now, isn’t part of the aforementioned things to come he is seriously thinking about- and he is thinking about stopping wasting his life trapped into a sorry excuse of an existence, he is thinking about getting on with it, finding a woman to love (aka convincing a certain dark haired agent to allow him to wine and dine her, and maybe even seduce her over a meal, as sophomoric as it may be, if necessary) and starting a family with her, not forgetting about the past, but honoring it, not leaving his old family behind but adding to it.