Buffy stood in the centre of the warehouse, watching as Cho and Rigsby deal with the last vampire before turning around to grin triumphantly at Van Pelt and each other. All three were clearly still riding high on adrenalin and she smiled back. They might not have caught Drusilla, but good work had been done. At least twenty five vamps were dust, and that was a good night as far as Buffy was concerned.
Then she looked over as Lisbon and Xander emerged from the basement, half-carrying Patrick Jane between them. Xander’s face was badly scratched and he was walking carefully, as though he’d hurt his leg somehow. Lisbon’s mouth was covered in blood, her nose still bleeding profusely. Jane hung somewhat limply between them, laughing softly to himself.
“Oh no.” Buffy reached them before the CBI and took Xander’s place supporting Jane. She thought about simply picking him up; he was taller than her, but she would be able to balance the weight easily, but one look at Lisbon’s set and hard face and Buffy decided, with a quick, hidden grin, not to risk it.
“Jane?” But he didn’t respond to Van Pelt’s cautious smile, only laughing softly.
“Let’s get out here,” Buffy said, leading them out, still half-carrying Jane, to where Willow was waiting.
The witch took one look at Patrick, touched his forehead lightly with one finger and said simply, “Sleep.” As he sagged instantly in sleep, Buffy took most of his weight with ease. Willow turned to Lisbon and shrugged apologetically. “He’ll be better for some rest.”
“He’ll be better once we get him to hospital,” she bit out.
“And so will you and Xander,” Buffy said firmly. “Anyone else hurt? No? Good. Just the three of you then.” Xander opened his mouth to protest, then shook his head in defeat at the twin looks from Buffy and Willow.
Patrick woke up slowly and knew, before he opened his eyes, that he wasn’t in the basement any more. There was a clean, antiseptic smell that screamed hospital to him. The light hurt his eyes when he did dare to look around, but it was a good hurt. As childish as it might be, he didn’t want to be in the dark. He glanced cautiously around and took a deep, shaky breath. Lisbon was watching him out of a pair of matching black eyes, her nose still puffy and swollen. But she was there, and apart from the broken nose, seemed unharmed. More importantly, she wasn’t dead.
“You awake this time?”
“This time?” He found the control for the bed and moved into a sitting position. “What this time?”
“You woke up about an hour ago,” she told him with a small smile. “Looked at me, asked if I was a vampire, and passed out again.”
“Oh.” He looked away, tried to change the subject. “Was that Buffy Summers I saw back there?”
“Her, Willow and Xander flew in to help out once we told them it involved Drusilla.” She watched him flinch again and wondered if he’d ever talk about what happened in the basement.
“Is everyone OK?”
“Xander and I are a little bruised, but apart from that, we’re just worried about you.”
He sighed and looked down. Lifting one hand, he frowned at her. “Shouldn’t I be restrained? You did arrest me for murder, right?”
“Jane,” she sighed. “Hightower and I talked. We agreed it was self-defence.” She didn’t say that Hightower had looked ill once the doctor had finished listing all of Jane’s wounds, or that he had lost nearly enough blood to kill him. “Red John is dead, and it’s all over.”
He shook his head slowly. “Who was he? Did you find a name?”
“Ray Butler,” she replied. “No priors, no record, but he had a driving licence on him. We spoke to his neighbours. They said he had always been a little odd, too clever to really fit in at school, but that he changed when his mother died. She died of cancer when he was about fifteen, and his father was murdered shortly afterwards.”
“Red John’s first victim?”
“Undoubtedly.” She shrugged. “Not that there’s any proof of that. After his father’s death, he disappeared, but kept the family home. Used to reappear every now and then. The neighbours said they learned to stay away from him, that he had scared them, talking oddly.”
“Just another psycho,” Jane said with a disbelieving smile. “All that, and he was just another psycho.”
“They usually are,” she commented dryly. She didn’t mention that Cho and Rigsby had found journals detailing every one of the Red John killings, or that one wall in the house was covered with photos of Jane, taken from newspaper articles or press statements from the CBI. Jane had enough to deal with without learning the depths of Red John’s obsession with him.
“Lisbon, I –“ he paused and looked sheepish. “Thanks. For coming to save me.”
“I told you a long time ago, if anyone gets to kill you, it’s going to be me.”
“I remember. Thanks.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she told him seriously. “Cho is outside and others from the agency will be taking turns to stand guard. You’re safe here.”
“What are you guarding against?” He shook his head, puzzled and she hesitated, not wanting to tell him the truth. As usual, he guessed before she could find the words. “Drusilla got away, didn’t she?”
“Yeah. And she’s probably long gone, but I just want to be careful.” Lisbon stood and touched his hand lightly. “Get some rest.”
“Stay with me.” She caught her breath at the sheer vulnerability in his eyes, the lost look that had appeared when she confirmed Drusilla’s escape and she sat down again. Jane was pale enough to make the white sheets look healthy by comparison, but he had gone grey when the vampire was mentioned. Whatever had happened back there, Lisbon suddenly doubted if she wanted to know the whole story.
When he did drift off into an uneasy sleep, Lisbon stood up and went to check on Cho. He was sitting, reading a magazine and it would have taken a trained eye to spot that he was alert to every movement in the corridor. She smiled to herself: her people were damned good.
“Shaken, but he’ll be fine.” She hoped he would anyway.
“Buffy wants a word with you.”
“Of course she does.” Lisbon sighed and tried to remember to be suitably grateful. The Slayer had saved Jane’s life, and helped them close the Red John case, but Lisbon struggled to like her, or her friends. Life had been complicated enough without demons and things that went bump in the night.