A/N: Just in case anyone wonders, we don't have the names of Patrick's wife and child, or any information about them except that they're dead, murdered by Red John, so I've made up quite a few details here.
Buffy led the way into the CBI building, Xander close behind, with Willow bringing up the rear. Agents who saw their entry were reminded of Special Forces, from the grim looks on their faces, the way they almost marched to the bullpen, and the way that Lisbon’s whole team leapt to their feet, as though a far more senior officer had just entered the room. For whatever reason, Lisbon had put the word out that all agents could go back to their old cases, that the Jane disappearance was being taken care of. There had been one or two muttered complaints, but the appearance of the three strangers settled that. They looked like specialists.
They all crowded into Lisbon’s office and Buffy nodded at Willow. “Make sure no one can hear us.”
“By magic?” Rigsby asked, a half-grin lighting his face. Since word had come through that Buffy was on her way to rescue Jane, the CBI had almost relaxed. The Slayer would save the day. Lisbon alone wasn’t sure it was going to be that easy.
Willow simply looked at him and produced a little black box. “By using a jamming signal,” she explained with a small smile. “I used to be a bit of technical geek.”
They all looked to Buffy, Lisbon realised with a sad smile. As soon as the petite blonde had walked in, she was no longer in charge of this case. Buffy was. And in a way, Lisbon was deeply relieved about that. “You certain he said Drusilla?”
“Yeah. I take it that’s a bad thing?”
The Scoobies exchanged wary looks. “Yeah. Bad thing.” Buffy sighed. “Why would she be hanging with this Red Joe? Any signs he might be a demon? She had a thing for a slime demon at one point.”
“No clues that we know about,” Cho said. “Red John’s just a murderer. One we’ve never been able to catch.”
“I have a theory.” Willow sat forward. “I did a little reading about Red John and I don’t think he’s a demon or vampire. I think he’s just your regular, everyday evil and that’s what attracts Drusilla. Red John reminds me almost of Angelus in his artistry, the way he arranges everything, and the way that the smiley face is the first thing that people see. He likes to show off. He likes to make people suffer. He’s a lot like Angelus.” She shot an apologetic glance at Buffy, who sighed but nodded in agreement. “And that’s why Dru is with him. She was sired by Angelus, you see, and since, um, he’s not about anymore, she’s probably been looking for someone to replace him. She might have made Red John into a vampire, but I don’t know. The thing is....” she trailed off.
“The thing is,” Xander took over. “Dru likes to play with her food. And she’s special, different to other vamps. We have to get Patrick back soon, or there won’t be anything recognisable left to rescue.”
“And how do we go about doing that?”
“Well, now that we know who has him, I can perform a ritual that should be able to guide us there.” Willow looked and sounded confident and Lisbon felt her hopes rise for the first time in a long, long week. “But first, we’re going to need supplies.”
Xander stood up and sighed. “OK, Wills. Hit me with the shopping list. I’ll pick up some donuts as well, shall I?” At the door he paused and turned back. “So what happened to your vamp informant?”
Lisbon looked wide-eyed and innocent. “I don’t know. We left him chained and heavily guarded in the interrogation room, because he refused to leave. When we came back after the fire drill, there was nothing there. Of course, the sprinklers had gone off, and I think we might have accidentally got the CBI chaplain to bless the water reserves.” Buffy had to laugh at the innocent looks of all the CBI agents at that. It looked like Jane wasn’t the only one to get good ideas.
When the vampire walked in, this time she appeared to be alone. Patrick raised his head, beyond tired but unable to rest. His shoulder throbbed agonisingly, and he was still lightheaded from lack of food and loss of blood. She walked over to him and smiled, a lovely, childish smile that made him shudder. He was beginning to understand her a little, to see the madness that drove her. Too tired to be afraid, he stared at her, wondering what she would do to him this time.
“Hello, shining one.” She touched his cheek. “Your blood is still singing, I can hear it. I dreamt about you. I dreamt you were on fire, burning, but not burning. You set me on fire,” she whispered, leaning forward to plant a gentle kiss on his forehead. “I burnt and I danced and you laughed.”
“Just get on with it,” he said defeatedly. “Just do what you came here to do.”
She pouted. “I wanted to play first.” She placed her fingers under his chin and tilted his head up to meet her eyes. “Look at me.” With her free hand, she waved her fingers in front of his eyes. “Be in me.” She stared at him, and he felt it – felt the beginning of a trance start to take hold. “Be in me.” Violently, Patrick shook his head.
“You’re going to have to do better than that,” he snarled, angry now. “I do that for a living, I’m not about to fall for some cheap parlour trick.”
That startled her, he could tell. Her eyes were very wide with surprise and then she slapped him, hard, across the cheek. “You should play nicely,” she spat. She moved to stand behind him again and Patrick braced himself for the pain. But she didn’t bite him. She placed her hands on his temples and tightened her grip. “I want to see inside you. I want to see what you hide.”
It felt as though mist was descending through his brain. Patrick tried to shake his head, to clear the fog, but she held him too tightly. It didn’t hurt, didn’t feel like anything, but he knew this was bad. Knew that something wrong was happening. But he couldn’t fight it.
She laughed. “I like your mind. There’s so much darkness. I like the darkness. I feel safe there.” She let him go suddenly and moved around in front of him again. “Poor little shining one. You don’t want to be alone, do you? None of us do. I don’t. That’s why Miss Edith is with me.”
“What are you talking about?”
She didn’t say anything, just backed away into the shadows. He squinted after her, but couldn’t see a thing. Then her saw a shape move forward out of the shadows, but it wasn’t the vampire. He let out a shaky breath. He was dreaming. He had to be dreaming.
“Oh Patrick, my darling, what have they done to you?” Her voice was as he remembered, that soft Southern accent making him to hold her, as it always did. She was as tall as he was, tall and willowy, with soft, brown hair that was always in a messy bun. Her blue eyes shone with love and she walked over to him, her touch as light and as welcome as it had been when he first met her.
“Nicky?” His voice shook. “You’re not real.”
She laughed and he closed his eyes in pain. He thought he would never hear that laugh again. She always laughed at him, always laughed at his tricks, but it had been an indulgent laugh, because she had never fallen for them. He had never been able to fool her. “Of course I’m real, Patrick. How else would I be here?”
“Not this,” he muttered. “Please not this.” He looked at her, drinking in the sight of his wife. “Please Nicky, please. You’re not real. You’re dead. I saw you.” This was a hallucination, he told himself.
“Have you been drinking again?” She mock-frowned and laughed again. Then her laughter died away as she reached down to her stomach and touched the jagged cut that had appeared there, her hand coming away red and sticky with blood. “I remember now. I am dead.”
“It was your fault,” she said, as though the memory had just come to her. “It was your fault.”
“I didn’t mean to,” Patrick said, his voice catching as he fought the tears that threatened. “I never meant you to get hurt.” It didn’t feel like a hallucination, it felt as real as could be. He forgot where he was, forgot everything but the fact that his wife was here again.
“You might as well have stuck the knife in me yourself.” Her voice was angry now, a tone that he had rarely heard. Nicky had always saved her anger for those things that truly deserved it, never losing her temper lightly.
“Yes.” Implacable now, she stepped towards him, her eyes lit with anger. “You killed me.”
“No, Nicky, please, that’s not what happened, that’s not how it happened!”
“And you killed our daughter.”
“You killed her. You killed our perfect, beautiful, innocent daughter.” Drusilla stepped back, letting the illusion fall away as Patrick started to sob helplessly, grief and guilt overwhelming him. She walked back to the stairway that led out of the basement and smiled at the man in the shadows. “He sings so prettily.”
Red John looked at her. “You’re wonderful.” He looked back at Patrick, still lost in his own grief, tears streaming down his face as he sobbed, a broken figure, and Red John smiled.