Disclaimer: I own nada.
Author's Note: This is a companion story to "It's Beautiful Here" You should really read that first. And thank you to all who read that story and for your awesome comments. Feedback keeps me writing. Also, I don't know if Jane's daughter has been given an official name on the show but for the purpose of this story I gave her the name 'Samantha.' Enjoy!
Sam I Am
When Patrick Jane woke, it took him several moments to figure out where he was. He was lying on the ground, his head pillowed against something soft and warm. Birds chirped in the trees and the sun was beginning to rise. Blinking his eyes a few times the headstones in front of him came into focus. With that, the memories of the night before crashed down upon him.
Sitting up he realized his pillow was Teresa Lisbon's stomach. He heard her words echo in his head, bouncing around with the images of Alan Greer flat against the pavement. He felt a strange combination of anger, relief, and pain swell in his chest. Red John was dead, but not by his hand. By the trigger finger of Cho and the cold hard asphalt.
Looking down at Lisbon's face, calm and smooth in sleep, he felt too many things to express. He hated her for taking away his chance for revenge. But he also loved her for it. He wanted to wake her up and shake her until she felt as jumbled as he did. But he also wanted to lay his head back down on her stomach let her breathing lull him back to sleep.
He pushed the heels of his hands into his eyes. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that Alan Greer was dead and had barely suffered. It wasn't fair that Lisbon had made that promise to his wife and child. It wasn't fair that Red John was dead and he still felt lost.
Sixteen hours later Jane sat in an uncomfortable chair waiting for his flight to begin boarding. He had given his statement, resigned his position, and cleared out his house of anything he might ever want in the future before calling a real estate agent. Now he sat staring out the airport window, rucksack propped up on the seat next to him, holding onto his boarding pass the way a child held on to a five dollar bill.
It had taken the time between leaving the cemetery and arriving at the CBI headquarters for Jane to decide that it was time to leave. To take the trip he and his wife had always said they would take. To see as many continents as possible, as many sights as they could. The only difference was, he'd be going alone.
Jane felt bad about leaving with nothing more than a short note on Lisbon's desk. But the truth was, if he had stayed to speak with her, it would have ended poorly. He cared about her too much to do that. It was better this way. As for the rest of the team, he knew they would understand.
They were calling his flight. He grabbed his bag and headed towards the gate. The knowledge that everything he would own for the foreseeable future was contained in one knapsack was a heady feeling, but a good feeling. The rest of his things would be safe in the storage locker he'd rented. So two pairs of jeans, two pairs of shorts, four shirts, a sweater, seven pair of underwear, four pairs of socks, a hat, sunglasses, a water bottle, a notebook, three pens, and his wallet would be his only traveling companions.
He settled into his window seat and stowed his bag under the seat in front of him. There were not many other people on the plane. A fairly late-night flight to Tocumen International Airport just outside Panama City was not an overly sought-after ticket. Jane was pleased when they pulled away from the gate and he still had the row of seats to himself.
Panama had been an easy choice for the first destination. His wife had always been a little obsessed with the Panama Canal ever since she had seen "Arsenic and Old Lace" as a child. She used to tell him that she wanted to see the structure that had caused so much death and rejoicing at the same time. She wanted to stand on the place where a country had been split in half.
Once the plane was in the air and the seatbelt light was off, Jane reached into his bag and pulled out the small blue notebook he'd bought at the airport and the first of his three unopened pens. Releasing his tray table he opened the notebook to the first page. He thought for a moment before he began to write.
My dearest Samantha,
I'm here on a plane to Panama. Red John is dead. I wish I could believe this news brought you some kind of peace. But you always forgave me of my faults so I guess you'd forgive me for not believing that you could be looking down on me now.
I find myself thinking a lot about bedtime recently. I remember how I would sit next to you, though sometimes there wasn't a lot of room with all the stuffed animals you kept in bed, and we would read every night. I don't think you ever knew how much I treasured that time.
There will never be a day when I don't miss you Sam. I am going on the trip your mother and I always planned on going on as a family. I hope somewhere I can find the answers that have plagued me for nearly seven years. I wish you were here beside me, showing me a picture you'd colored, or asking me to read you your book. The book I'm sure I still know by heart. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I Am.
I love you.
Jane closed the notebook and placed it and the pen back into his bag. He stared out the window at the dark sky and leaned his head against the thick plastic of the plane's hull. A single tear rolled down his face. Within minutes he was asleep.
The Canal was everything his wife had said it would be. The sky was blue and the friendly-looking clouds seemed to hover just above him in the sky. He adjusted his pack and rested his sunglasses on top of his head. He stared out over the bluish-green water and took a deep breath.
Without any warning, Lisbon's face popped into his mind. A voice in his head reminded him that the color of the water was almost the exact color of her eyes. He shook the image out of his head. He knew it was wrong to think about her now. Standing on the edge of the sight his wife had so wanted to see was not the time to be remembering another woman. Even if he cared for this woman very much. It wasn't fair to his family. And besides, Lisbon had interfered in an unforgivable way. There was no reason he shouldn't be able to get her out of his head.
Jane took off his rucksack and sat down on the slightly damp grass. He pulled out his notebook and penned another letter to his daughter. The fifth in as many days. He would be leaving Panama for Peru in the morning. In the letter he told Sam about the huge ships that seemed to sway like toy boats as they bisected the country. He wrote that maybe sea sickness was the reason the unnamed character in her favorite book 'would not eat them on a boat.'
At the airport the next day, Jane browsed through the small shops as he passed the hour before his flight would begin boarding. He was standing in line, waiting to buy a pack of gum when a postcard caught his eye. It was a picture of the Canal at early morning and the color of the water again made him think of Lisbon. A tightness formed in his stomach. It had now been officially the longest he had gone without seeing her in nearly three years. Checking his pocket to make sure he had enough cash on him, he grabbed the card and bought both it and a stamp.
For half an hour he debated over what he should write. The address had been written but the rest of the card was blank. He thought about sending it just like that. Lisbon would know who it came from and a part of him felt it was all she deserved.
But then he remembered how he'd felt waking up next to her that morning. He remembered her slightly crooked smile and the way her brow would furrow when she was worried about it. It wasn't fair to her that he'd left like he did, regardless of her actions the night Red John was killed. His anger wasn't really with her, and a large part of him knew that.
Clicking open his pen she scrawled the only thing he could think of, "It's beautiful here. I wish you could see it." Then he affixed the stamp, dropped the card in a nearby mailbox, and got in the newly-formed boarding line.
After that day, Thursdays became 'Lisbon Postcard Day.' He would spend hours looking for the perfect picture to capture the places he was seeing. Sunset over the Amazon, a blue-footed booby standing on a Galapagos island, a helicopter's view of Madrid, Notre Dame at night, a gondola in Venice. Each week he would try to think of something profound to say to her. He had no problem pouring his heart out each night in letters to his daughter. He told Sam about everything he'd seen and how it was helping him to let her and her mother go. But the words to Lisbon never came.
There was too much he wanted to say, and at the same time a part of him still wanted to say nothing. So he compromised. "It's beautiful here. I wish you could see it." He sent the same message each time, each week for almost four months.
Jane was not a religious man. He had long ago stopped believing in god, and he believed organized religion to be an almost identical con to the one he himself used to pull as a psychic. So it was not a sense of spiritual need that brought him to Israel. Rather, he'd come because he knew it was a place of great turmoil. A place of suffering and at the same time, of celebration. This intrigued him. He had been traveling for four months. He had finished his trek through South America and Central Europe and would fly to Cairo in the morning to begin the African leg of his journey. But first, he had come to Israel.
Now, sitting on a rock facing the Wailing Wall, he tore the second to last sheet of paper out of his notebook and stared at it for a few minutes. Then he began to write.
If I knew how to pray, I would pray that my baby girl felt no pain or fear. I would pray that my wife knew in those last moments how much I loved her. I would pray that Alan Greer is rotting in hell as well as in his grave.
I should be in jail, but I'm glad that I'm not. I'm glad to be alive.
The last line was written as an afterthought. Jane wasn't really aware he'd written it until he reread his words. At first, he felt surprise at the confession. But surprise soon gave way to an immense sense of relief. Over the past months he had felt the pain he'd carried with him for years beginning to dissipate. It wasn't until that moment that he realized the pain had become a dull sensation. He knew it would never be gone completely, but it was time to let them go. He realized, for the first time in months if not years, that it was true. He was glad to be alive.
Standing up, Jane walked over to the wall. He was surrounded by people of many faiths. It was quiet except for the occasional word of prayer spoken aloud. He folded up the paper in his hands and stuck it in a small crevice in the wall. Then he took his notebook, turned to the last page and wrote, "I'll love you forever, Sam I Am." Closing the book he felt a wave of calm rush over him. Squatting down he placed the notebook on the ground, leaning it up against the holy wall. Jane was not a religious man. But as he walked back towards his hotel, he felt like a man reborn.
That night, for the first time since Red John's death, Jane didn't dream of his wife and daughter. He dreamt he was sailing a small boat, the ocean was calm and the sun shone brightly. The waves rocked him back and forth. A noise came from the galley below and a moment later Lisbon walked up and sat down next to him at the helm. They didn't speak, they simply sat side by side and watched the seagulls.
The next morning at the airport, Jane chose a postcard with a picture of the Wailing Wall. He wrote his usual message, the address, and put on the stamp. As he was about to toss it in the mailbox however, he stopped. He felt the feeling of peace he had experienced in the dream return for a moment. He remembered the words he'd left in the wall. Leaning against the mailbox he wrote a post script. "I understand why you did it, and I'm grateful."
The month he spent in Africa flew by. Jane had never seen such immense beauty mingling with such intense sorrow. He had spent a week in Egypt, seeing all the tourist things. He had felt more strongly the effect of standing near the pyramids than he had expected. He'd sent Lisbon a picture of the Sphinx, because something had told him she'd like it.
He found himself thinking about her more and more during his time in Africa. There was a new, unfamiliar ache in his chest most days. It took him a while before he figured out that the ache came from missing her. He realized it was stronger when he thought about her, or when he dreamed about her.
He was dreaming about her with an almost alarming frequency. Sometimes they were good dreams. He'd dream he was back at the CBI, joking around in the break room. Or they'd be sailing, like in the first dream. Or he'd just dream she was there with him,, eyes wide at the sight of wild elephants up close. Sometime they were great dreams. Those usually involved emerald jewelry, no clothing, and waking up frustrated. And sometimes, sometimes the dreams were terrible. Gunshots and Lisbon bleeding. Cars exploding with her inside.
On his last day in Kenya, before he flew to Istanbul, he found a postcard with a picture of a giraffe from the nature preserve he'd visited. He wrote his standard message to her and something inside him snapped. The tightness in his chest became overwhelming and his eyes filled with tears. It took all his strength not to rush to the airport and get on the next flight to America. Several sobs escaped him before he got himself under control. Looking down at the postcard he wrote, in a shaky hand, "I miss you every day." It was the truth, and he felt like she should know.
It had been forty-five weeks almost to the day since he'd seen her. Standing outside the CBI building in the early morning light he stared up at her lit office window. He'd arrived back in the country the day before. He'd gone to his storage unit and taken a few boxes of clothes back to the hotel room he'd rented for a month. He slept off the jet lag and had woken up early that morning. He'd though about calling her, but it didn't seem like enough. So he'd taken the chance that she would be at work before everyone else, just like she always had.
Jane was lucky because the overnight security guard hadn't changed during the year he'd been gone. Marcus had grinned happily at seeing the former consultant and waved him inside. He walked up the familiar stairs and into the office. It was like walking back in time. At first glance, nothing had changed. But then he noticed subtle differences on his former co-workers' desks and workspaces. Turning towards Lisbon's office he smiled to see that her door was open and that she was facing away from him.
Just seeing her back was enough to bring Jane's heart rate up. He felt the now-familiar ache of missing her begin to subside. She was there. He was going to see her.
Reaching into the pocket of his suit coat, which felt slightly strange after a year of cargo pants and t-shirts, he pulled out the postcard he'd purchased the day before. After thinking for a moment he smiled and wrote, "You're beautiful here. I wished for you every day." He began to creep towards the office but stopped. He had spent too much of his life protecting himself from pain. It was time to take a leap of faith. He penned a post script, "PS, I think I love you." It was now or never, one way or the other.
He managed to place the card on her desk without her hearing him. He backed away and watched from a safe distance as she turned around and picked up the picture of California and read the words he'd left for her. He stood in the doorway and waited while she looked slowly up at him. He looked past her head at his postcards lining her wall. She had kept them all, and kept them close. He looked back at her and caught her blush. It was the most beautiful thing he'd seen in a long time.
"They were all beautiful places," he said, the words pouring out of his mouth before he could stop them. "But they'll be better next time when we go together."
Of all the responses he had expected of her, running into his arms was not one of them. But the gesture was not unwelcome and he found himself hugging her back with everything he was. He felt her tears wetting his neck and took a deep breath, the familiar scent of her was like a cold drink to a thirsty man.
Pulling away he leaned down and kissed her. The one thing he had wanted to do for more days than he could count. "Hello," he said. Realizing afterwards that it might have been the most ridiculous thing to say at that moment. But when he heard her laugh and respond in kind, he knew he would do anything to make her smile for the rest of his life. And when she kissed him this time, he knew he was home.
okay folks, that's it for this installation. I will probably do one more part to tie everything up and show them together some. please review!