Finished with the first gift/fic. Thanks again for all of the reviews (especially you, Mabeline36, for the lovely words you've shared throughout the fic)!Epilogue Chapter Seven: Second Chances

Five and a half Years Later


Teresa looked around at the faces of her friends. It really had been a surprise.

Van Pelt, five months pregnant and glowing, beamed at her. By her side, Rigbsy grinned at his boss, arm firmly around his wife. "Congratulations! Finally hit the five year mark."

"Thanks, guys." The senior agent smiled, feeling a little emotional.

Cho gave a brief nod in acknowledgment of her appreciation. "Trust us, boss: it's our pleasure."

After his sojourn as lead agent, Cho had decided he was better suited to be a right-hand man. That is, if it was her right-hand man.

Van Pelt and Rigsby had gotten married. Officially, Van Pelt was with the Technology Investigation department on permanent loan to the Serious Crimes Unit—a situation that worked out well for them all without breaking any regulations. Technically, she wasn't on the team, but everyone knew it was simply a technicality and the redhead was as much part of the team as the blond-haired, impulsive consultant—who had become a little more carefree, though still off-the-wall, after the capture and incarceration of the serial killer known as Red John.

A consultant who happened to worship the ground on which the lead agent walked. Arms slid around her from behind.

"Not at work, Patrick."

"It's a special occasion."

Stepping away from him, Teresa gave him a scowl. "Still at work."

"Why do they get to have PDAs and we don't?" Patrick whined, gesturing to the younger agents who blushed guiltily. Lisbon put her hands on her hips.

" Because neither of them are the senior agent here."

She looked so serious that Patrick couldn't resist. He snagged her left hand and raised it to his lips, kissing the simple gold band that lay on her ring finger. The band that signified their tie. The one that had a partner on his own hand. "I think that on the celebration of five years of remission, your husband is allowed to show some affection."

"Seems fair," Cho chimed in, logical as always.

"Fine," Teresa said reluctantly. Patrick grinned and pulled her into a bone-crushing hug. As he did almost everyday, he felt that overwhelming relief that he had been granted a second chance. That she had been granted a second chance. And today, five years of remission marked the moment when a specific fear could slowly start draining out of him. He may lose her to death, but when it came to cancer she was practically cured.

He'd always be afraid for her well-being. Be afraid that something would happen to crush the happy life he had made with her.

But he had found that the alternative to giving into that fear and letting it run his life was so much more satisfying.

And that alternative was in his arms at that very moment, reminding him just how much life was worth.