By the time Lisbon and Greer had arrived home, it was well after dark. They had stopped off at CBI to collect Greer's things and Lisbon had checked in with Cho over Sophie. They had ordered takeout Chinese food and were both in the process of picking at their desired meals. Lisbon still hadn't got her appetite back, but she was forcing small mouthfuls at a time.
"So…" Greer said in a conversational tone. "You and Jane? What's going on there?"
"What?" Lisbon spluttered out, before she started choking on her mouthful. She reached for her glass of coke to help wash it down. Eyes streaming, she looked up at Greer. "What makes you think that there's something going on? We're just colleagues… and friends." She added as an afterthought.
"Oh, just the chemistry between you two."
"Chemistry? Like what?" Lisbon was a little nervous about having this conversation, she suddenly lost her appetite completely and put the box of Chinese on the coffee table.
"Oh… I don't know..? The playful banter, the loving smiles… the way he does almost anything to get your attention…" Greer said in a sing-song voice.
"Greer, we're just friends. Most of the time he drives me up the wall… if that's his way of saying he wants attention… well, he could do something a little less annoying."
"You guys just seem to connect."
"We're friends. I've known Jane for years now, we're just friends."
"You've said that four times now." Greer gave her a baiting smile.
"Oh… shut up!" Lisbon wouldn't look her in the eye.
"It's ok Teresa. I'm just playing with you… but seeing as you two are such great friends… I need to ask you something. And don't worry… it's nothing personal.. well concerning you anyway."
Lisbon forced herself to look at Greer. She was only trying to trick her into saying something she would much rather hide… ha, like father, like daughter…
"Ah… sure. Ask away."
"It's about Patrick… well obviously. But something really isn't right with him."
"How so?" Lisbon asked, wanting to actually take part in the conversation, now that she knew it didn't concern her so much.
"Well, I asked him about his wife today… and he, kind of had a mini panic attack. Don't get me wrong, I can't even begin to imagine the sort of pain he has to put up with every day… but it's been eight years, it almost seems like the pain is still as fresh as the day it happened. Has he ever talked about it before?"
Lisbon sighed sadly.
"Jane doesn't talk about anything. He keeps everything bottled up. I personally think, if he talked about it, he would be able to move on. But it's not just the grief that's killing him. It's the guilt."
"Because he taunted Red John?"
"He thinks that it's his fault his family was murdered."
"That's not fair! If it's anybody's fault, it's Red John's. No one should be so purely evil, that they would kill a man's family for revenge!"
Lisbon shifted uncomfortably. She wasn't enjoying this conversation much, but Greer had a right to get some answers.
"Teresa… your honest opinion..?"
"If, or when, Patrick kills Red john… do you think he will feel any better for it? Will it really relieve the guilt that has been eating away at him for so many years?"
Lisbon sat and thought about her question before answering.
"To be perfectly honest… no. I know he will feel redemption for his family… but this has become more of a game. But he will feel relief… definitely. Jane's scared. He's scared that Red John is going to hurt the ones he loves the most. About a year or so ago, Jane started pulling away from the unit… started pulling away from me. When I confronted him about it, he said that everyone that gets close to him, bad things happen. I think that once Red John's dead, he might stop blaming himself. He needs to stop blaming himself."
Greer tucked her legs under her, turning so she was fully facing Lisbon.
"I guess it makes sense now… why he wanted me to stay with you."
"Oh yeah? How's that?"
"It gets me off the radar. Staying with him would be too obvious… and you own a gun." Greer smiled sheepishly at her. "It's because he trusts you. He's living his life in fear, and by me staying here, he's hoping I won't have to."
Lisbon nodded, understanding where she was coming from.
"Greer, he can't talk about his family, especially to you, because he's scared the same thing will happen to you. He doesn't want to lose you."
Greer looked down at her hands, that guilty look on her face again.
"Mmm?" Greer looked up, her mask back on. If Lisbon hadn't seen that face before, she almost would have thought she had imagined the look. She really was her father's daughter… she was great at hiding things.
"Is there something you want to tell me?"
"Are you sure? Because I've seen that look before, in the interrogation room… and you said there was something you needed to tell me."
"Greer, you don't have to lie to me."
"Is there something you want to tell me Teresa?" Greer asked in a mocking tone, turning the attention off of her.
"The pale complexion, the lack of appetite, the shakes, the bags under your eyes from loss of sleep… nausea maybe?"
"Greer." Lisbon said sternly.
"I'll tell you mine, if you tell me yours."
Lisbon huffed. Teenagers. Exhausting. Annoying. And this one was a Jane! that just doubles― triples! in annoyance. Even worse, because she knew she was right. She really― reeeally needed a drink.
"Fine…" You win.
"I think it's time we went to bed. I'll grab you a pillow and some blankets. The bathroom is through there." Lisbon said, picking up their rubbish from tea and taking it through to the kitchen.
Dammit! She's only trying to help. God…
"Teresa. I'm sorry… um… soon. Ok? I just… I can't. Not yet." Greer got up and followed Lisbon into the kitchen. Lisbon turned around eyeing her.
"Look, ok, I get it. But you could have just told me that from the beginning, instead of the personal attack on me. Your just about as observational as your father. Maybe better, considering your only seventeen… but that's not the point. I'm still an adult and you need to show a little respect."
Greer shifted from foot to foot, obviously uncomfortable.
"I really am sorry Teresa. It's just… I can't have Patrick know… not yet."
"Ok Greer." Lisbon walked past her towards the linen cupboard. She pulled out a few blankets and passed them to Greer. "I'll grab you a pillow."
"Thanks Teresa." Greer said in a small voice. She watched Lisbon leave to go upstairs. She was really starting to doubt herself again. Maybe she really shouldn't have come here. This was going to destroy so many people. She sat down on the couch, curling into a small upright ball in the corner. She started playing with a loose thread on the arm of the couch. She felt like absolute crap. She could feel the guilt building up inside her, the pressure almost choking her. She could feel the tears coming. She heard Lisbon at the top of the staircase, returning with a pillow.
"Here." Lisbon said chucking the pillow to her. Greer thanked her quietly, using up every ounce of her energy trying to stay composed until Lisbon had gone. "The remote to the TV's in the draw."
Greer nodded, uttering a small "Thank you."
Lisbon stood there awkwardly for a second, before bidding her goodnight and climbing back up the stairs for bed.
As soon as Greer heard her door shut, she lay down on her makeshift bed, her silent tears escaping down her face and soaking the pillow.
I'm a horrible person! Why didn't I just leave it alone?
Lisbon woke with a start. Waking… that meant she had actually managed to fall asleep. She rolled over, trying to figure out what had woken her. Two figures were standing over her bed. She sat up quickly, fumbling for the light switch.
"Hello Teresa." A husky voice said.
Lisbon finally found the switch, illuminating the room. There, standing in front of her, was a masked man.
"Nice to finally meet you in person." The masked man said holding out his hand for her to shake.
Lisbon scanned the room, fear starting to bubble inside her. She found the other figure, green eyes met blue― Greer.
"You do realise it's rude not to accept a hand shake?" The man said, his tone smooth. He slapped her hard across the jaw line.
Jesus! That's gonna leave a bruise.
Lisbon sat back up, dazed. She looked back at Greer.
"Why?" Was all she could think to say.
"Sorry Teresa. I was genuinely starting to like you. Just think of it this way, at least Patrick wont blame you."
Lisbon looked at her confused.
"Oh come on. Really? I have to spell it out for you?"
Lisbon still stared at her vacantly. Her jaw was throbbing and she was having a hard time concentrating. The masked man giggled with delight. Greer moved around the room, so she was standing at the foot of Lisbon's bed.
"What are the chances that a girl comes into the CBI, after eighteen years… and actually turns out to be his daughter… you had it right from the beginning Teresa."
"But… the paternity test… it said―"
"Look, I― we, have that many connections… of course we're going to have someone in the lab that can alter the results. It's the perfect ploy to get close to Patrick Jane."
"We? Who's we?"
"Oh, my god. Seriously? Did you hit her that hard?" she asked turning to the masked man who chuckled in response.
"Jane isn't my father. Red John is. That's what I've been hiding. I guess I felt a little guilty because I was going to destroy so many lives. My conscience got the best of me… but then Daddy rang me and reminded me of what we were doing. How many people we were going to avenge, from con-man Patrick Jane… my mother included."
Lisbon felt like she was suffocating. Red John was standing over her. She was gonna die… oh god, she was gonna die.
Red john let out another excited cackle.
"Greer? Would you like to do the honours?"Red John asked in his husky voice.
"Oh really? Are you sure?" Greer asked excitedly.
"Of course, my dear. I think you're ready."
Greer jumped up and down, like a toddler that had been given a lollipop.
"Thank you Daddy!" she squealed. She bent over, reaching into a bag, pulling out some gloves. She snapped the gloves on, and then fished through the bag, drawing out a long curved, silver knife.
Lisbon screamed as Greer ventured towards her. Red John pounced on her, securing her hands behind her back with one hand, and putting his other hand over her mouth. She lived in an apartment block and he didn't want to draw attention to the neighbours.
Greer came up to her and placed the knife on Lisbon's shoulder, like a surgeon would place a scalpel on a patient.
Lisbon could taste the latex of Red John's gloves, she could feel the cool metal against her skin. Cool metal turned to hot searing pain as Greer started to slice her upper arm open. Lisbon started to thrash about, tears were rolling uncontrollably down her face. Red John was doing a great job at muffling her screams, she had a feeling that they would have made her deaf.
She felt Greer stop cutting. She heard the small clink as Greer lay the knife on her bedside table. Lisbon forced herself to look at Greer, pouring every ounce of hatred possible into that stare. This seemed to only amuse her. She reached out, dipping her gloved fingers into the fresh wound. Red John forced Lisbon to look at the wall. Greer stood up on the bed and started drawing Red John's trade mark smiley-face. They were making her watch her draw the symbol that was sealing her fate. She was going to die.
Lisbon sat straight up in bed, gasping for air, her entire body drenched in sweat. She quickly turned on the light switch, and examined her body in a rush. There was no cut on her arm, her jaw wasn't throbbing. She was the only one in the room. She was still breathing heavily.
She took a few calming breaths. Relief spreading through her body.
Damn nightmare! Yet another bloody withdrawal symptom. She couldn't take it anymore. She needed a drink! She needed one now! She pulled back the covers and got out of bed. She padded across her bedroom, opening the door slowly, trying to keep the creaking of the door to a minimum. She walked gingerly down the stairs, hoping that she didn't wake the sleeping teenager.
As she got further down the stairs, she was greeted with the sound of coughing, followed by retching, coming from the direction of her downstairs bathroom. Another bound of quite violent sounding coughs resounded through the apartment. Lisbon quickened her pace until she was standing outside the bathroom door. She was greeted with the sound of wheezing coming from inside.
She knocked a few times.
"Greer? Are you alright?" she called softly.
She was only answered by another fit of coughing.
"Greer. I'm coming in."
Lisbon turned the handle and timidly stepped inside. Greer was spread out on the floor in front of the toilet, violently coughing into her elbow.
"Greer, honey. What brought this on?"
Greer jumped as if in fright. She hadn't even noticed Lisbon enter the room. Lisbon made her way over to Greer. It was then she noticed the contents in the toilet. The bowl was sprayed a crimson red.
"Greer! Oh my god!"
Greer, who had somewhat controlled her breathing sat up and leant against the tub.
"Teresa, it's ok. I'm fine." She rasped.
"Fine? Fine! You certainly don't look fine. Sorry to break it to ya, but throwing up blood isn't a good thing. I'm calling an ambulance."
"No! Teresa. It's fine!"
"Well explain to me what's going on then!"
"Fine… you see… I'm really a vampire… and my last meal didn't agree with me."
"Greer." Lisbon said sternly.
Greer sighed remorsefully. She reached up and flushed the toilet.
"Fine. But you better sit down." She patted the spot beside her on the floor.
Lisbon walked across the bathroom and sat down beside her. Greer looked at Lisbon, regret filled her eyes.
"It's ok Greer. You can trust me."
She took a deep breath.
"I have cancer." She cleared her throat. Unable to look Lisbon in the eye. "Lung cancer. I found out a few years back… I've stopped responding to treatments." Lisbon felt her heart sink. This poor poor girl… poor Jane… wait… Jane!
"Oh… Greer… I'm so sorry." Lisbon reached out and grabbed the girls hand.
"So now you see why I couldn't tell you? This is going to destroy Patrick. My mother didn't tell me about his family… she didn't tell me anything about him! And now… well, I'm going to die… and he's going to… this is going to break him! I don't know what to do!"
Lisbon could feel the tears rolling down her own face.
"You need to tell him Greer."
"I know! I just can't. Not yet… please… just give me a few more days. I just need a few more happy days with him… before I shatter his world… promise me you won't tell."
Lisbon looked at Greer. The look on her face gave her chest pains. She really needed that drink now.
"Ok Greer. I promise."
Greer sighed in relief.
"How long?" Lisbon asked and Greer knew she wasn't asking how long she had to keep the promise.
"A month… maybe two."
"A couple of months?" Lisbon whispered. She felt lightheaded. "There's nothing they can do?"
"I've had extreme chemo and radiation therapies." She pulled up her top, revealing a long white scar and several other smaller scars down the center of her torso. "I've had that many surgeries I've lost count. But it just keeps growing back. My last check up… they told me that it's spread. I have several shadows on my lungs, and now I have a small one on my liver."
Lisbon squeezed her hand. Actions speak louder than words, and right now she didn't have any words for this girl. She felt like she was in mourning. Her poor friend.
"I need a drink." Lisbon stated.
Greer looked wearily at her.
"Teresa, you were right tonight. I am observant… and I know you have a drinking problem… it's not going to help anything."
Lisbon sighed. She knew she was right. She hated that she was right. If she started now, she wouldn't be able to stop. But the idea of passing out into a drunken stupor, was oddly satisfying at the moment.
To hell with it.
Lisbon got up and walked out of the bathroom, returning shortly with a bottle of scotch and two glasses. She sat back down and filled both glasses. She handed one to Greer.
"Lisbon…" Greer said wearily.
"Just tonight… please Greer. I need to. Just tonight. Please." She was practically begging.
Greer held up her glass.
"To Patrick Jane." She toasted.
Lisbon smiled gratefully. She touched glasses with Greer and took a long sip of the alcohol, letting it burn her throat and warm her belly. She sighed in satisfaction. She grabbed Greer's hand again. They sat there in companionable silence, both staring at the wall, lost in thought. The same man was the subject of their thoughts, Patrick Jane.
This was going to break him.