Disclaimer: You'd think after all the hard work I put into this that they might cut me a deal but no, I don't own any part of the Mentalist.
A/N: Here it is guys...the FINAL chapter. I seriously am going to miss this one but I still have my other two so I guess I'll be okay. I want to say how sorry I am for taking so long with this. Some of you already know but I was sick over the holidays and then my computer decided it wanted to get sick to. All my files were deleted so I had to start over on everything. So this is almost as long as the original and I tried to keep things on the same path. I think I managed. Hope you like the final chapter in this one.
Warning: Angst ensues (and some good ole' mush) Who doesn't secretly love mush?
Plush, orange, furry and cute. That's what she'd been thinking when she picked out the cute little tiger that she'd named Hugo. The one that Jane had bought her that day at the zoo. It seemed so long ago, it had been a turning point in this thing they called a relationship and now here she was, standing over the trashcan with one goal in mind. She had to get rid of it, she couldn't deal with such a reminder sitting on her nightstand anymore. Not after what had happened between them in that cellar. Lisbon had known that if anything came between them, it would be Red John related and she'd been right. As childish as it seemed, she hugged the plush tiger to her chest and pressed a kiss to his head before dropping him into the small waste basket she kept in her bedroom.
Anger was at the forefront of the emotions controlling her actions, followed closely by being completely heartbroken. Jane had really said that he'd rather be dead, she couldn't be with someone who thought like that. She'd always sort of known in the back of her mind, that's why starting a casual sex relationship had been a horrible idea and yet they'd done it anyway. She'd made the mistake of falling in love with him and this is where it left her. Alone and broken in her apartment, nursing her aching heart and trying to forget.
It would be easy for her to forgive him, too easy but she knew she couldn't. He hadn't said two words to her since saving her life and she couldn't break the silence between them. She'd simply went home without so much as a goodbye. She'd choked back the tears all the way home, but once inside the dam had broke. There was nothing to hide from in her home, so she didn't need to wear a mask.
Tears were still streaming down her cheeks as she walked away from the tossed out tiger and towards the rest of the gifts that Jane had given her through the months, several little things that wouldn't mean much to most but to her, they meant the world. And that was the problem in a nutshell. She cared about him way too much, she loved him wholeheartedly and it was too dangerous. She'd known that but when he'd told her he loved her as well, she'd believed him. She'd been stupid enough to believe him and this was the price she had to pay.
One thing still puzzled her, he had saved her life. Killed his only link to Red John just to save her, but she couldn't dwell on that or she would forgive him in a flash. She knew these cases got to him, knew that he hurt, but she'd hoped that he would turn to her for comfort. Much like he had during their first sexual encounter and that hadn't even been a real Red John case, but he'd still turned to her. She didn't understand why any of this was happening. All she knew was that it felt like it hurt to breathe, her chest was constricting violently and the only thing she really wanted to do was crawl into bed. It was still too early for that, only eight, so she made herself deal with this. She had to, or she'd never get it done. One by one she tossed each and every little present he'd left for her, including a very special origami frog.
It was hard for Lisbon, but as she sat down on her bed, she carefully removed the dangling jewelry from her ankle. She hadn't taken it off since he'd put it on her but she couldn't wear it now. She wouldn't toss it like she had the rest, but she wouldn't wear it either. The show of throwing things away had been just that, she couldn't really just throw them away like garbage. The tiger would find a new home, she'd donate him as well as some of the other cute yet childish things he'd given her. The origami frog probably would end up in a box in the top of her closet, never to be opened but she wasn't really going to let it be trash. She'd just needed to physically detach herself from each item, though it hadn't really worked.
Encasing the anklet in her hand, she closed her eyes letting the tears fall and threw it at the wall before collapsing onto the mattress. She had to end things with him. It would be hard, it would be messy but it was for the best. The fact that she was literally bawling into her pillow proved that. Though she only stayed in the bed for a few seconds before every memory of him came flooding through. Every touch, every kiss they'd shared while lying under the covers had her slowly getting up and moving away. There really wasn't one spot in her apartment that didn't hold some kind of memory of him. The kitchen, the living room, the bathroom, even the closet. It held some of his clothes and she hadn't made it to sorting them out yet. She was still too worked up. In a few hours she would be better, almost back to normal minus the heart wrenching pain in her chest and she'd do it then. She would take them to him in the morning.
Her gaze flickered to the wall she'd thrown her anklet at, and before she even realized what she was doing, she was on her hands and knees trying to find it. It wasn't in the floor and her guess was that it had fallen behind her dresser. She was overreacting, she knew she was. She knew he wasn't going through the same thing. He wasn't choking back sobs and pawing around on the floor pathetically. She couldn't believe he'd made her into this kind of woman but she'd never loved someone so strongly before and he'd thrown it in her face. He'd been angry with her for saving his life, yet he turned around and returned the favor. She'd never been this confused either.
Slightly triumphant, she eased herself up off the floor and decided she'd do this all in the morning. Things would look different then, she was just too exhausted and hurt to do it now. Maybe by then, she wouldn't even want to end it with him. The only other thing she accomplished was fastening the anklet back in it's rightful place. She couldn't deal with taking it off just yet. She understood why he'd said what he did, she really did but it had still felt as though he taken a knife and plunged it into her heart. It only twisted when she'd seen the look on his face after he'd shot Hardy.
She pushed the thoughts from her head, or at least she tried to but they still lingered. Her stomach was starting to rumble and she thought food might be a good distraction. Wiping the tears from her face, she headed down stairs to find something to eat. Food and then bed, that was going to be the routine for the night. She really hoped everything looked better in the morning. She really didn't want to end things with him, but she would if it was for the best. Right now, she felt as though it was but she didn't want to. She was so torn.
The lights were on in Lisbon's apartment. Jane took that as a good sign. He hoped she'd remembered what tonight was. After the tiring last couple of days, he thought she might have just turned in early, completely forgetting the plans. He needed to apologize as well, he'd said things to her in that cellar that he shouldn't have. He'd directed his anger at her when it should have been towards the elusive serial killer that put them in that situation. Part of him still thought she should have waited, but he understood why she didn't. She loved him, she wasn't going to risk something like that. She didn't want him to die, and that was why he'd been avoiding her most of the day. He couldn't deal with the fact that he'd left her thinking he'd rather be dead than spend a life being with her. He hadn't meant it like that but now that he really thought about it, that's the way it had probably sounded.
He didn't know what to expect, he didn't know if she'd be upset or calm. He hoped she was calm, willing to forget the entire confrontation and have a good time but something in his gut told him that was just wishful thinking. Though she was tough cop, she was still a woman with a heart and he had a feeling he'd crushed it. He didn't mean to, Red John always made him have tunnel vision. He only had one thing in mind and that was catching him, he should have been thinking of Lisbon too but he wasn't.
He hadn't even considered what the case was doing to her until he shot Hardy. He was kind of shaken over that, but he'd do it again if it meant saving her. He couldn't let anything happen to the woman he loved, he just hoped she knew why he'd done it. He'd actually been walking out to tell her he was sorry for acting selfish and to steal her away from prying eyes so he could fully seek comfort in her. Let her hold him and hold her in return without an audience but that hadn't happened. He didn't have the chance and after that he'd been too ashamed to say anything. He'd seen the hurt in her eyes and it bothered him knowing that he'd put it there.
A stray tear ran down his cheek but he quickly wiped it away, adjusted his shirt and walked up to her door. He was a selfish bastard but he loved her too much to let her go. She probably would be better off without him but he couldn't handle that. He'd go crazy if she gave up on him. He knew there were things he needed to work on and this was one of them. He needed to learn when to keep his mouth shut, he had to learn the right things to say to her and mean them. In the heat of the moment, he'd opened his mouth and said things that seemed fine at the time but now he wished he could take it all back. He really didn't want to be dead, he was glad she'd came in a little early though he told her to wait because ultimately she'd saved his life. He'd been so rude to her. Telling her he'd rather be dead, as long as they caught Red John. It wasn't true anymore, maybe a year ago it would have been, but not now. He wanted to live.
He knew he'd said it the wrong way, he meant that if it came down to saving him or catching a serial killer then he wanted her to catch the killer. He'd managed to get that part across to her but the second part had remained locked in his head. It wasn't purely for the selfish reason of not wanting to live, it was to save others from becoming the man's victims. He was trying to be a good person, he'd simply forgotten that at the time. As he raised a fist to knock, he hoped she was okay. He hadn't even asked her if she was okay, after staring down the barrel of a gun. What kind of person was he? He was supposed to protect her, love her and always be there but he was still rusty. Even after a year, it was still easy to slip into his selfish behavior but he wanted to stop. He wanted her help, she just needed to be patient with him. He couldn't change over night but he was trying, still trying. He'd managed to love again, he knew he could conquer this as well he just needed more time.
When the door finally opened, he had to stifle the urge to wrap her in his arms and promise her the moon. She'd been crying, the puffiness of her eyes gave that away. Her hair was a mess though she'd pulled it back into a ponytail and she was dressed in a simple shirt and panties. Nothing else, he'd never seen her this vulnerable and shattered before. They'd had their share of spats that resulted in tears but he'd never seen her like this. She looked exhausted and done. By done, he meant done done, as in given up on him. The look in her eyes was for him and it screamed that she was finished.
"Don't, just don't Jane." She tried to close the door but he wouldn't let her, he couldn't let her do this. They needed each other, it wasn't just about him. It was about both of them so he pushed his way into her home, with ease and wrapped his arms around her waist. "Jane, leave."
It stung that she was reverting back to calling him Jane instead of Patrick but he knew it was her way to try and control the situation, to try to distance herself. He had a lot of work to do but he wasn't leaving anytime soon. He wasn't going to be satisfied until they were curled up on her bed, holding each other and trying to forget the words he'd said. Replacing them with touch and whispered I love yous.
Lisbon was struggling against his hold, she didn't want to give in though it would be easy to. She had to stand her ground if this was going to work in her favor and though the look on his face told her he was indeed sorry, she could still hear their conversation ringing in her ears. Refusing to let her forget why she'd been crying alone into her bowl of cereal. This wasn't like the other little fights they'd had, the other misunderstandings. This was worse, much worse but she couldn't wiggle out of his grasp.
Normally she probably could have laid him flat, but she was too emotional to even think straight and when he pulled her closer and buried his face in her hair, she gave up trying to push him away. One last embrace before she told him. They stayed like that for several minutes before she finally returned the hug and buried one hand in his hair, wrapping the other around his waist. They were clinging to each, desperate and sorry but for different reasons. Lisbon was sorry for what she had to do, had to say to him.
"Teresa, don't do this, okay? Please just don't give up on me." The tremor in his voice caused her to release the tears once again, followed by a whimper when he pressed a kiss to her temple. This was a lot harder than she'd imagined. "I love you."
"We can't..." There was a pause in her words as she tried to compose herself enough to finish the sentence, to get it all out in the open. She was hoping she could breathe easier once it was over and done with but she knew that wouldn't be the case. "We can't do this anymore. I can't."
The embrace ended, he pulled away and she saw for the first time, just how much this had bothered him as well. She'd been wrong when she'd thought he was fine with it all. Dead wrong. There were unshed tears in his eyes and she wished the words she'd just said could be taken back. Maybe this was just another test to their relationship, if so she really didn't want to fail but then there was still so much that couldn't be fixed. This would have been easier if she didn't love him.
"You don't mean that, don't say that." The space between them was only a few inches, but she felt as though they were miles apart. She didn't want to believe that Red John had done this to them. She tried to back away from him, staring at the floor but a warm hand caressed her cheek, forcing her to meet his gaze. She needed to get away from him or she wouldn't be able to do this. She didn't want to do it, she wanted to let him hold her, to hold him and work it all out but she was so afraid they'd end up worse off if that happened.
"Patrick, it's Patrick. You haven't called me Jane when we're alone in months. I know what I said hurt you, I'm sorry. I am but we know what these cases do to me. They make me behave differently and say things. I never wanted to hurt you." She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and willed herself to move when he rested his forehead against hers. Her feet didn't cooperate, neither did her arms. Nothing did. She let herself rest her hands on his hips as he tugged her closer. This wasn't going the way she'd planned. He was supposed to be gone and she was supposed to be the one to make him leave.
"Patrick, I think you should go."
"Don't make me, you really don't want me to leave, so please don't make me."
"You're selfish and childish and I can't..." Lisbon was trying to make him angry enough to leave but he saw right through her and closed the gap between them. She whimpered against his lips but found herself giving in all the same. This was the problem, she was too weak to fight him and as he wiped away her tears, kissing her gently, she realized she couldn't do this. She couldn't push him away, she couldn't actually make him leave. Love was a blessing and a curse.
"Teresa I can't do this without you. I won't let Red John win."
"That's the problem isn't it? Red John. He always comes first and I was okay with that, I was but then you...would you really rather be dead?" Raw and cracked would be the only way to explain the air around them, the emotions. They were both highly aware that this night could be their last together which made every word that much more thought out and strained.
"He doesn't come first. That's the real problem, you think he does but he doesn't. And no I wouldn't rather be dead."
"You said you would." Lisbon let her hands travel from his hips up to the front of his shirt, grasping fiercely at the cotton. It took her a few seconds to realize he was actually dressed in casual clothes. Jeans even, she'd made a wise crack at him once about wanting to see him in jeans and now here he was.
"I say things that I think I mean at the time, only to find out I didn't mean them at all."
"It's safer if we end this now Patrick." It was going to hurt like hell, it already did but she knew she was right. It was safer to end it, move on and make it all a part of the past but every second she spent with him, she forgot a reason she wanted it to be over. Second by second, reason by reason.
"I don't want safe, I want you. I know I'm being selfish but don't give up on me, not yet." Another brief touch of their mouths and then it deepened. Lisbon couldn't bring herself to move away, and as she moved her lips against his she was somewhat glad she couldn't. He nipped at her lips, teasing them open and smothering her in the heat of the kiss. She pulled away as soon as she realized what they were doing.
"This doesn't fix things. Sex doesn't fix anything."
"I know, but this isn't sex." The look he gave her told her that he did know, but he wanted to try and fix things. It was better than what she'd wanted to do, at least she thought so at the time and hopefully it wouldn't cause her more heart ache in the long run though something told her it probably would. He wanted her help and she couldn't say no, she couldn't turn him down when he was begging her to help him. This was how it had started, he'd asked for a night and she'd given him one. She was too weak then, and it had only gotten worse over time. A year and two months, and no matter how upset she was, how much she wanted it to be easy. It wasn't. She couldn't just make him leave, move on and forget, because now she realized it wouldn't solve anything. It would make things harder. "Teresa, just let me love you tonight. If you still want things to be over in the morning then I'll go."
She would rather end up completely heart broken and disappointed than give up what they had so she nodded and let him lift her from the floor without a fight. She was being just as selfish as he was when she'd said she wanted to end it and that might be their downfall: selfishness. Even though it was obvious that both of them were lying. She didn't want to end anything and he wouldn't leave in the morning if she asked.
If they were smart they would have said goodbye, left it as it was but they didn't. They'd continued up to her bedroom, shedding clothing and trying to forget that this was how it had started, with sex. This wouldn't be just that, they were way passed just sex. It might have even been something beyond love making. They needed a new term to describe what it was when they were together. Then again, maybe they'd made the smart move, maybe this was the way it was supposed to be. Just the two of them, in her bed with nothing between them. Only an anklet and a cross were worn as they explored each other, occasional tears leaking out and whispered promises that might eventually be broken. Shared I love yous and matching thrusts. Maybe it didn't fix anything but with every kiss, they started to think that maybe it did.
Lisbon didn't hold herself back like she'd planned, she hadn't made him leave and now he had her pinned to the mattress. She was always beneath him, always, with the exception of one time. In a year, she'd only been on top once. It was his way to control everything, even without trying. With a searing kiss, she distracted him enough to flip them over never breaking contact of their bodies. If they were still doing this then some things would have to change.
He seemed somewhat shocked at first but as soon as she started to rock against him, a moan left his lips and he relaxed. Though he did manage a garbled sentence about how he was supposed to be the one making love to her.
"No, Patrick. Together, we do...ah...things together." The change of position had them both on the edge, each movement, each caress had them closer to the precipice but Lisbon hadn't expected him to do something in return. One swift move and he was sitting up, still buried deep inside of her, causing her to cry out against his shoulder as he held her tight. This wasn't quite what she'd meant by together but she couldn't even form a coherent thought let alone words.
Hips didn't stop, touches didn't cease and when Jane lifted her head from his shoulder to pepper kisses across her cheek, the past few days disappeared. His hands danced over her bare back, committing the skin to memory. He mapped her body every time they were like this, every time she was bare. Her hands seemed to be doing the same, never staying in one place long. Starting at his shoulders, skimming across his back and stroking over his chest before making their way to his curls.
"I love you Patrick." Whispering those words against his lips had them both groaning and inching even closer to the cliffs edge. She'd never actually said them out loud. She'd told him she'd fallen in love with him but never simplified it into those three words. "I love you."
Each rock of her hips sent waves of pleasure coursing through her, driving him deeper and causing her to mewl. Even after all this time, it was still such a new experience every time they came together as one. More so now that they were so worked up, so damaged after the last week and aching for human contact. Jane was close, he was too close and he knew he wouldn't last but just a few more seconds. He'd make sure they did this again, he wouldn't let her kick him out in the morning. He loved her too much to lose her, he wouldn't lose her to Red John too. He couldn't handle it.
A soft nip to his neck made him cry out as she tightened around him, he couldn't take it anymore. One hand tugged at her hair, softly pulling her lips up to his. With the first touch they were both crashing over the edge. Spiraling down together into that familiar bottomless pit of pleasure. There was nothing to keep them hanging on any longer, it wasn't worth it to try. Falling apart simultaneously had them clinging tightly to each other, lips still fused swallowing each others moan and sighs. Muscles tightened, locking only to release moments later and shiver with each aftershock. Jane carefully fell back against the sheets, pulling her down to rest mostly on top of him. She was shaking in his arms, his love, and he had to wait a few minutes to say what he'd been wanting to say all night. He had to get his breathing back to a somewhat normal rhythm.
"You, Teresa are what matter most to me, not Red John. I chose you. Do you remember what tonight was supposed to be?" He was met with her puzzled gaze and then she closed her eyes and nodded against his chest. He'd been dressed casually for a reason, and now he knew she remembered. Gently brushing her dampened hair back from her face, he offered her a tender smile and caught the last tear trying to cascade down her cheek.
"Please don't make me leave in the morning." He waited for an answer but it didn't come, his eyes searched hers for a long minute and then she mouthed a silent okay. They weren't better. This hadn't fixed everything but they were willing to try, to make changes and that's what set them aside from other couples that would have fallen apart long before this point. They'd both cried their share of tears for the night, and still managed to smile softly through the pain. They were going to make it work despite the flaws and baggage, they weren't going to let a serial killer come between them. Not again. Red John could not take away their love for each other.
a/n: The epic end of this story. I couldn't actually make her leave him....I just couldn't. So bittersweet for me. Though I do actually think it's my favorite chapter. I like angsty stuff. So after much deliberation on the fact I've decided I'm going to do Season 2, but I won't be starting until it is over. That way I get a feel for the entire season as a whole. That being said it isn't going to be a continuation of this one. It'll be a whole new story. :D I've already got a title for it: 'Beautiful Nightmare' ~ Rina