Disclaimer: Are you kidding me? I'm writing fanfiction...which wouldn't be necessary if I owned the show.
A/N: Okay, here it is guys. The FINAL chapter. I had other stories that needed updated but I wanted to finish this instead. When I started this little gem, I planned five chapters and then it just grew into this beast. That being said, I'm sad to see it end but so happy to finally get it finished. This last addition is bittersweet, this is the chapter that I wrote before I even started the rest of the story. I tend to do things backwards. I did however go back through it and change things, add more details, and thoughts. :D I hope everyone who has read this enjoys the ending, and I thank everyone who has ever reviewed, alerted, added to favorites and all of the above. Thank you so much. I never ever expected this one to do so well but I'm so glad it did because I've absolutely LOVED writing it. So here is the end. May it make you smile, cry, or want to throw something at my head.
The world was cold, dark at times and it had a way of making you feel so small and alone. In better terms, it wasn't really the world that was cold, it was the people in it. Murders, drug deals, human trafficking, Lisbon had seen it all. There were times that she felt the effects of being a CBI agent, times when she wanted to crawl into bed and hide under the covers like a scared little girl. She wanted to do it at that exact moment and take Jane with her. To hide from the cruel reality that they'd lost Red John. They'd had him and now they didn't. He was in custody and then he escaped before they ever knew he was the monster who had stolen something so precious from so many people, from Jane.
Jane - the man currently in the kitchen busying himself with cooking dinner. She'd offered to help but he ushered her out and she let him. She knew this was his way of processing the day's events. He wasn't shutting her out, he just needed a little time to take it all in and then he'd return to her. She could still see him, partially, from her position on the couch. He'd told her to relax as if it were actually possible. There was no relaxing after the day they'd had. No way her aching body would let her ease into a sense of comfort when she knew he was beating himself up for not knowing. None of them had seen it coming, but of course Jane thought he should have. There were so many what-ifs and should-haves.
Trying to calm her racing thoughts, she stretched out on the soft piece of furniture and stared at the ceiling while her finger toyed with the fabric of Jane's shirt. She'd changed almost immediately upon arrival, opting for the dress shirt she'd stolen instead of clean pajamas. She'd be sure to wash it tomorrow so she could wear it again. There was something about it that just made her feel safe. Something she found interesting considering she had a gun, that should make her feel safer than anything but the feel of his shirt against her skin made her feel a different kind of safe.
Occasionally she found herself glancing towards the kitchen when she heard a clank of a pan or scrape of a fork. Her ceiling needed cleaned but it would have to wait. She wanted to help the tortured soul slaving over the stove, she hated letting him do all the work but at the same time she knew it's what he needed. Soon enough he'd reach the point where he needed her and she'd be there but until then there wasn't much she could do. She couldn't help but think how nice this would be under different circumstances, having dinner prepared for her while being allowed to unwind. It would be romantic and sweet, it technically still was but neither of them could enjoy it to the full extent.
Several explicits followed a thud, jerking her attention away from the cobweb she'd been watching to see Jane's arm shoot out for paper towels. A few more minutes and then she'd make him let her help. He'd been in there by himself for almost an hour, that was enough time. She knew if she gave him more then he'd withdraw into his thoughts of blaming himself for everything. Even if he tried not to, he would unwillingly slip into it. She'd been learning that over the last several months, learning how to read him better. He wasn't as complicated as she'd originally thought.
When she heard something that sounded like a pan hitting the counter and another string of curses, she knew it was time. He was getting overwhelmed and that was her cue to join the cooking party. With tired arms, she pushed herself up from the couch and padded towards the delicious smells coming from the kitchen. Any other time she would have laughed when she saw he was still wearing her pink apron - the one given to her by the lady next door as a house warming gift. When he'd insisted upon wearing it, she'd just given him a smile and shrugged. She figured it was simply yet another way to try and inject normalcy into their relationship, their day. But this wasn't any other time and the look in his eyes had her forgetting all about the piece of cloth made to protect clothing.
She watched him for a few seconds as he gripped the edge of the counter, eyes filling with tears. An outsider would assume he was upset over the contents of the pan now spilling out over the once clean, top of the counter but she knew better. She could care less about the green peppers and jalapenos. Reaching out, she rested a hand over his whitening knuckles and he turned slowly to face her.
"I-I'm sorry Lisbon. I'll clean it up." Heart constricting in her chest, she watched as he attempted to do just that. Moving away, he grabbed more paper towels and that's when she noticed his hands were shaking. It was easy for her to conclude that's how the mess had been made in the first place.
"Patrick, let me." She sighed in relief when he stepped back and let her finish. He watched her, gaze never wandering as she cleaned the last of the mess from the counter top and proceeded to the trash can. She didn't say anything, didn't blush under the intense stare. She just let him take it all in and then returned his unwavering glance with one of her own. He took a step toward her and she followed suit.
The space between them closed in just a few quick strides and then Lisbon was wrapping her arms around his waist, letting him bury his face in her hair. This was nothing like the short embrace they'd shared in her office. This was a whole different kind of comfort and when one hand traveled up to stroke his curls, she realized she was whispering words of nonsense in hopes to help ease his aching. She never thought that she'd be in this position with Jane - a woman comforting her lover in the midst of an emotional storm. Then again, she'd never thought sharing a room would lead to being allowed to comfort him in such a way. She'd thought they would remain platonic, forever toeing the line of what could be but never crossing over to the other side. He was Jane after all, and she'd told herself he was off limits because of all the complications involved.
The hands that had been shaking were now clinging to her, holding her as close as possible and a small part of her brain wondered when it had become so easy to let him in. The last several days sealed the deal between them but it had started a long time ago with small touches and now here they were. The events of the last week left her shaken. In such a small window of time, they'd managed to accompany each other to hell. They weren't quite back yet but she knew they would get there and with one loving kiss to his head, she loosened her hold on him. A deep breath filled the air as he let her go but she didn't move away.
"Why don't we eat and then head to bed?" She let her eyes flicker to the pan, there was still enough for the two of them and if she wasn't so hungry she would have just suggested bed. They'd been skipping dinner a lot though and she knew it would be better to eat something first. She didn't get a verbal reply but she really hadn't expected one, he simply nodded and handed her one of the plates he'd already set out, tortilla laid carefully on top.
It was interesting to try something new, she'd never had whatever the heck it was that he'd cooked. All she knew was that he'd made her stop by the store on the way home to pick up onions, garlic, jalapenos, and Anaheim chile peppers. Now it was all mixed together in a pan in front of her. It was worth trying, it smelled good and she wasn't about to turn it away or even comment with something witty at a time like this. Dipping some of the mixture out onto the tortilla, she thought about what all of this would be like in the morning. How they'd handle it after a night of so much thinking.
Jane had shed the pink apron before they sat down to eat and Lisbon couldn't help but think how ridiculous they must have looked. She was only in a shirt and he was still in his three piece suit. He was quiet, they both were. Neither of them said anything while scarfing down the food. Lisbon was glad she'd tried it, her taste buds were very appreciative though she had to admit the concoction definitely had a kick to it.
She'd made him leave the pots and pans till morning, taking him by the hand and pulling him up the stairs. It fascinated her how in sync they really were, sharing a bathroom with someone had never been easy for her but Jane just seemed to fit. It wasn't awkward to brush her teeth and share the sink with him. He was still quiet, slow moving. As soon as she'd finished cleaning up, she left him alone and headed straight for her bed knowing that he'd follow. She'd missed her bed and it looked even more inviting on this night but one thought made her hesitate - this would be the first time in a long while that a man would be joining her. She wasn't one for going out much, her love life had been nonexistent until a few days ago. This should be a happy moment, inviting someone to share her bed, inviting Jane but it isn't. The whole reason they were together wasn't exactly happy.
Pushing the thoughts away, she pushed the covers back and crawled in. A sigh fell from her lips when her head hit the pillow. Oh how she'd missed her bed. She was thinking that it couldn't possibly get any better but then the mattress dipped, arms snaked around her waist and she realized that it could. Her comfortable warm bed seemed even better with Jane in it. After the long tiring week, the last twenty-four hours and all the pain and suffering, this was what both of them had needed.
When he pressed a kiss to her lips, rolling her to pin her to the bed, she let him. His fingers made quick work of the buttons on her - well his - shirt, she wouldn't be needing it. Her first night home in her own bed and she wasn't alone. Another kiss, a soft touch, a whisper of her name falling from his lips as he caught her tired eyes in a stare and she knew. He was still trying to come to terms with the days events and he needed her more than either of them had realized. They needed each other. Who knew where they'd be if she would have let him shut her out for good? One place they wouldn't be was in her bed, pouring hurt and comfort into every gentle caress of bare skin.
It was the sound of something hitting the window that roused Jane from his dozing. It took him a few seconds to figure out that the noise was caused by a rain storm, water trails running down the glass and making him close his eyes once again. The weather had been horrible lately, at least it was matching his mood. Rain, clouds, there was one sunny day he remembered then again he wasn't one for paying much attention to the weather when Red John was involved. He remembered watching the sunrise with Lisbon, sitting on that fence and seeking comfort in her. Just as he was now by clinging to her even in sleep though he was now awake.
He tried getting comfortable, shifting a little and pulling her closer but it didn't really help any. He just wasn't capable of falling back asleep at this point and the clock only read three fifteen. He couldn't stop thinking about being in a room with Red John and not even knowing it. He should have known, he should have at least suspected it when the man had brought up his wife and child. He'd been blinded and he'd missed a huge revelation because of it. Now they had nothing. No Red John, no leads, nothing. He wanted the game to end, he wanted to be able to finally put the past behind him.
There was no way he'd ever forget, you couldn't forget something like that. Just like he'd never forget the last several days but he wanted to be able to be happy with Lisbon. He felt a little guilty for putting her through so much lately. He'd toyed with her emotions, shut her out, made her face demons from her past and then he'd made love to her as if none of that mattered. It did though. It mattered that they'd slept together twice now and both times it'd been brought on by unfortunate situations. He wanted to show her that she was more than that, better than that. He just didn't know when he would be able to do that.
The sting of losing the man who murdered his family would be too much for awhile, but he hoped that after a few days things would start to return to normal - whatever normal was for them - so he could prove that even though they'd come together in such a broken way that things didn't have to be so sad and serious all the time. As carefully as possible he moved her around until she was lying on her back and he was looming over her. With a sigh, he pressed a kiss to her forehead before letting a finger stroke softly down the slope of her nose. He thought her nose was adorable, he thought she was adorable in a very Lisbon kind of way. He kept the touch as light as possible so he wouldn't wake her. She was sleeping well, better than she had been and he knew it was because of the location. She felt safe in her own bed, comfortable and warm.
He really never thought he'd see the inside of her bedroom, let alone know what it felt like to be in her bed next to her. As good as it felt, he was still aching. There was a tightening in his chest that kept him from being able to fully enjoy the moment but when she shifted, letting out a quiet mewling sound, he knew that eventually he'd be able to. He wanted her to stay asleep so he stopped the soft caress of her nose. Another soft kiss, this time to her bare shoulder and he was slowly sitting up. Before he left the bed, he pulled the blankets up over her and made sure she was as warm as possible and then found the boxers that had been tossed aside.
He thought of going downstairs, but decided against it. He didn't want to leave the room, he liked hearing Lisbon's quiet gentle breaths. He made his way to the window instead. Standing in front of it, he watched with a distant stare. It was almost therapeutic. The rain pelted against the window as he stared out into the night. Red John was out there somewhere, still taunting him and knowing that Lisbon was more than just someone he worked with. It worried him, scared him. If anything happened to her, he didn't know what he'd do. If anything happened to her because of Red John, he'd lose the last shreds of sanity he had left.
Hand resting against the cool glass, he watched the water hit it and let his thoughts consume him. He'd dealt with most of the anger he'd been feeling by cooking Lisbon something to eat. Most of it. In the end he'd spilled all but a tiny bit of their dinner and almost burned his hand but as with every time he's felt alone lately, she was there. The feeling of failing once again was still lingering though he'd hoped it would ease after a few hours. It hadn't yet. He kept failing, over and over.
"Jane?" Whipping around to see his lover sitting up, blanket at her waist, hair mussed and not even bothering to cover herself, he quickly took in the way she rubbed at her eyes and blinked in confusion. It was obvious she was still out of it and wasn't sure where he was. Her gaze hadn't made it to the window yet.
"I'm right here. Go back to sleep."
"Not until you come back to bed." He expected nothing less than her stubbornness and found himself obeying without a fight. He wouldn't be able to sleep but it was clear that leaving her alone only resulted in waking her which is what he'd been trying to avoid by getting out of bed in the first place. Easing back down on the mattress, he leaned back until he staring up at the ceiling and only then did she relax. Even in the darkened room, he could see the tension in her body lessen as she buried herself into his side. He didn't mind the contact and he sure as heck didn't mind that she liked to burrow closer.
"I didn't mean to wake you."
"S'okay, talk to me." Her hand rested over his stomach, tracing along his navel as he let his own trail up and down her spine. "Tell me what you're thinking."
Normally he probably would have seen those statements as demands. He would have refused but with her voice so soothing and sleep filled, he knew she wasn't demanding anything. She was simply requesting for him to talk and it suddenly seemed like the best idea he'd heard in a long time.
"I keep thinking I should have noticed that we had Red John. He's out there now, laughing at us and we're left with more questions than answers."
"When we catch him again, we'll get answers." A small smile tugged at Jane's lips as the woman in his arms, shifted around and tucked her head into the crook of his neck. She was always trying to make him feel better. Always trying to say what she thought he needed to hear and he loved her for it even when he didn't truly believe her.
"He's always ahead of us, he escaped. How do you know he won't do it again?"
"Because we'll be prepared. We didn't know he was Red John, the only thing we thought we needed to worry about was keeping him alive." She had a good point and she seemed satisfied with it, showing him how much thought she'd put into it by a soft kiss to the underside of his jaw.
"I've been thinking about what happens if we don't find him."
"We'll get him okay? We will and he won't get away again." Jane closed his eyes, listening to the soft melodic tone of her voice. Hypnotizing in its own way. Warm beneath the blankets, listening to Lisbon reassure him wearing nothing, he was being lulled into a state of calm.
"You really are a sweetheart. I know you've been thinking of the same thing, and you're just saying that to make me feel better." He felt her tense for a few seconds before relaxing again with a heavy breath. "It worries me that he knows about us. He got away Lisbon."
"We'll be okay." There was no way to know if they really would be or not and although he usually liked to point that out, he didn't this time. He believed her, even if there was no guarantee that something wouldn't happen. He believed in her, and that was enough. He may have wished the last week hadn't happened but he didn't regret the step they had taken. He was actually now thankful for broken heaters. Without being forced to share a room the first night, none of this would have happened. They would have been there for each other throughout the case but they wouldn't have kissed, touched, crossed the line between being friends and being more than friends.
As much as he hated Red John, hated what happened to Victoria and what it had done to him, he couldn't say that the entire stay had been one huge tragedy. Lisbon wasn't a tragedy, she was anything but. She was his way out, his light and it had taken him awhile to realize that but now that he did, he was going to try really hard not to mess it up. It'd be so easy to slip back into trying to shut her out, wallow in self pity but he no longer wanted to. He wanted to open up, wanted her to be the one he shared the hard things with and it was hard for him to share. He was making an effort to try, he was letting her comfort him and that was a step forward.
"Get some sleep Teresa." The sound of her name on his lips was still foreign but it was becoming easier to say each time he said it and as she wiggled one last time and mumbled against his neck, he knew that they would do their best to withstand whatever was thrown their way. Red John or otherwise.
She'd become someone he cared about, someone he didn't want to live without and he wasn't sure what state he would be in if she hadn't pushed him into opening up. He wasn't sure how he'd be handling Red John's escape without her. Tightening his hold on her, he gave in to the pull of his own physical and emotional exhaustion. She was right, next time Red John wouldn't get away because next time Jane would be prepared. He'd be ready and he'd make sure the man never hurt anyone ever again.
a/n: I know I know, they didn't get Red John, but I never intended for them to. I'm a horrible person like that. *Runs away* Good news: There's a sequel.
So go check out Dissolve if you want to see where Jane and Lisbon are now!
PS: The dinner Jane made for Lisbon is my favorite. It's basically a modified version of Denver Green Chili. :D