A/N: I've been having a block at writing anything good at the moment. Anything I write seems to read like garbage. Apologies.
Thanks so much to my insanely amazing beta, tromana, since without her this story would be 89% worse than it is. My grammar sucks. No wonder my English teacher hates me! Just you wait, Mrs H, just you wait.
Also, a shout out to diviniaserit, Americanchick, Ebony10, and lilsmiles. Good luck in the Jellies! Everyone, go check out jello-forever. The URL is on my icon on my profile, check it out. We don't bite!
WELCOME BACK TO HAMPSHIRE, ADIVER!
The couch was feeling strangely uncomfortable. He shifted around and placed his head on his arm and grunted slightly. His mind was particularly full of thoughts and recent memories which he found slightly disconcerting. Jane thought back to when he and Lisbon had been talking to Felicia Scott. Shame she had been a murderer; Jane had always admired her as an actress.
"We all make mistakes, but we have the power to give ourselves a second chance."
At the time, she'd been talking about Sydney, and Sydney's drug problem, but the words had wormed their way into his brain, reminding him of his own mistakes. There were far too many of them not to have an effect on him, after all.
Dear Mister Jane,
He shivered involuntarily at the little voice in his head. He wondered what Red John looked like, sounded like. Maybe he sounded innocent, maybe he sounded crazy, or maybe he looked frightening. He probably just looked and sounded ordinary, like any man on the street.
'A Second Chance.'
Jane pondered over the words. Could he give himself a second chance? To love someone else? Would he be betraying the people he'd loved the most, his beloved family?
It didn't take long for his mind to wander elsewhere. To Lisbon's angry words, directed at him only a month ago. Normally, he could shake off her snapping at him easily, but those words and the venom in them had meant they had stuck.
"Can't you see there are people who care about you, who need you? You're being selfish and childish and I want you to stop it!"
What did that mean though? She should have known that he was selfish. It was an intrinsic part of his personality. Not one he liked particularly, but still.
'People who care about you, who need you.'
Who? Maybe she'd been talking about how the team needed his help to keep their 'no cases unsolved' record over the last few years. That was what she meant. Yes. There certainly wasn't anything else there. No way. Definitely not.
'Maybe,' a little voice told him, 'maybe, she was telling you that she cared about you.'
No. He shook his head. Lisbon didn't care about him, anything other than a friend. Right? He was going crazy! He chuckled to himself. He was having an argument with himself about whether Lisbon cared about him or not. Ha! Automatically, he reached for his cell phone, and dialled a familiar number. It was answered after three rings.
There was loud music playing, and he could barely hear the voice over it.
"It's Jane," he said, and he heard the music getting slightly quieter, and then the sound of cars invaded into the quietness.
"Jane," she bit her lip. "Why are you calling?"
"I… I was wondering how you were," he told her, and then cursed himself at the stupid phrase.
"Uh, I'm fine. Why?" she asked curiously.
"No reason," Jane answered hurriedly. "Where are you?"
"I'm with some friends at the Torch Club. 904 15th Street. You can come join us if you want," she informed him, and he raised his eyebrows. She was in a club? That… well that wasn't very her.
"Not really my thing," he chuckled.
"Well, I'm going home soon. I got the job of driving," she laughed wryly.
"It sounds like that's generally your job." Jane noted.
"Well, that's generally because I prefer not to get drunk. Ever. At all. And that's not going to change," her tone had changed, and Jane cursed himself again for the bad choice of words.
"I'm sorry," he apologized.
"Why? It's not your fault," she told him, her voice slightly softer. "Hey, why don't you join me later at my house? I… I think there's some stuff we need to talk about."
Jane stared at the floor. He was still in the CBI HQ; he hadn't left since they'd got back from their most recent case. The headquarters were always more welcoming than his house, which was filled with ghosts and bad memories.
"Jane?" Her voice broke into his thoughts. "I'm sure you know where the spare key is."
"Actually, I don't," Jane grinned, and she laughed.
"Really? I'm surprised," she chuckled lightly. "I guess you're just going to have to wait outside then."
Jane laughed as he ended the call. He stood up and pulled on his jacket, before heading out to his car. Things had been uncomfortable between them lately, what with the latest Red John debacle. It would be good to clear the air between them. And she had just invited him to her apartment. What did that mean? Did it mean the little portion of his mind stating that she cared about him was right? He shook his head and cleared his thoughts. Though he had never been inside before, Jane had long since memorised the route to Lisbon's home.
One hour later, after dropping her inebriated friends off at their respective homes, Lisbon arrived back at her apartment complex. She pulled into her driveway and cut the engine. Frowning, she climbed out of her SUV, all the while looking out for a certain blue-eyed, blond-haired consultant of hers.
There was no Jane.
She pushed the car door shut behind her, with a little more force than necessary. Walking up to her front door, she unlocked it and pushed it open. It was dark inside, so she flicked on the hallway light, illuminating the shadows out of the darkness.
She pulled off her shoes, which subsequently made her about two inches shorter, and headed upstairs. She was walking past the lounge when she thought she saw something move. Instinctively, her hand moved to her hip and she mentally cursed at herself, remembering that she didn't actually have her gun on her. Moving so she could see into the lounge while the person inside wouldn't be able to see her quite so easily, she flicked on the light.
"Jane!" she exclaimed. He was standing with his back to her, by the window. He turned around, and waved the spare key at her.
"Found it," he grinned.
"For God's sake, don't do that." She leaned against the door frame and eyed him warily. "Why are you here?"
"You invited me," he said simply, sitting down on the couch and patting the space next to him. Lisbon rolled her eyes and moved to sit next to him, pulling her feet up under her.
"Yes, I know that," she glared at him, and he chuckled.
"You said we needed to talk," he replied, and she looked away.
"Yes," she answered. "We do."
"What about?" Jane asked her, and she laughed. It wasn't a laugh that showed she was happy. It was sarcastic.
"What do you think?" she questioned him, and he shrugged so she continued, "Red John. Hardy."
"Oh," he said, looked down and his hands. His bare hands.
His ring finger surprisingly lacked the wedding ring that had been of prominent position for almost ten years. Lisbon followed his gaze, and her breath caught in her throat. She tried not to show it though, and even when Jane looked right at her, she masked her shock.
"Why?" she asked him.
She could have been asking him that for many reasons. Why did he shoot Hardy? Why wasn't he wearing his wedding ring? Why had he phoned her up, completely out of the blue, with no proper justification?
"I don't know," Jane said honestly, but Lisbon wasn't sure about which question he was answering. It was soon cleared up. "I tend not to think over things carefully, especially things like that. I mean, he was going to shoot you. What else could I have done? Stood there, knowing I could have saved you?"
"It was instinct?" Lisbon asked, trying to suppress the hurt she felt at that. Why should she have thought it would be anything more?
"I… guess." Jane knew it was lame, and turned away. Lisbon reached out and touched his arm lightly.
"Jane?" Her voice was softer than usual, and it sounded like she cared somewhat? What for? Jane wondered. For him?
He turned back to face her. "Yeah?"
"I don't know your reasons. For anything, really. But… I guess… oh it doesn't matter." Lisbon was frustrated at the fact that she couldn't say what she wanted to say. She just couldn't put it into words. "I guess… what I'm trying to say is… I –"
Her words were silenced by Jane's lips on hers. Lightly. Tenderly. Caringly.
Lisbon was the first to pull away, more in surprise than anything else. To her amusement, it wasn't just her whose face was flushed red with the heat of a blush. Jane's cheeks were tinged. Embarrassment? She certainly hoped not.
"God, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have, it was stupid of me –" This time is was Jane to be shut up, and his ramblings faded into nothingness when her lips touched his.
He slid his hands around her back, pulling her closer to him. It still felt weird, to be lacking the cold metal of his wedding ring. But… this felt right.
Maybe, just maybe, Lisbon was his second chance.
A/N: I'd love to hear your feedback, so please tell me what you thought. Thanks!