Alright, here it is, the promised post-ep to HRRH. Follows along in my series of AU post-eps (which includes "To hold but maybe not to keep" and Mutual Liberation") where Jane and Lisbon are in an established relationship. I would recommend reading one or the other of the fics in the series (if not both) before reading this one, simply to get an idea of how their relationship is.

This fic is jointly dedicated to yaba, for giving me the idea for the series indirectly from a Secret Santa prompt (and for also being excited and encouraging about the thought of post-HRRH) and to AlamoGirl, for listening to me yammer on about the Mentalist, and for getting me thinking about how exactly I wanted to do this one.

I'd also like to thank all of my reviewers, of all my fic. I'll thank you individually if you sign in, but I'd like to thank all the others as well. It is much appreciated.

Also, this one is angsty. I give you fair warning.

Disclaimer: I own nothing; I'm just borrowing.

xxxxx

In all Fairness,

xxxxx

Teresa Lisbon collapsed on her couch. God what a day. What a month. Maybe even what a year. First she almost gets shot, then Jane goes nuts and they lose the Red John case, bringing Bosco back into her life in a significant way. Then she gets framed for murder, after which Jane gets thrown in jail (by Bosco). And now… now… Bosco and his team…

God. She still couldn't quite believe it. Wasn't sure if it'd hit her yet, but it was starting to.

In the beginning there hadn't been time. She'd heard Rebecca scream then she'd run into the office and seen the blood and the bodies. She'd been on autopilot. Told herself no way was Bosco dead. No way. This wasn't supposed to be how Sam Bosco went. Out on the job was one thing, but in the CBI building it just wasn't happening.

Luckily Cho had jumped into action immediately as well. He'd locked down the building and called reinforcements while she'd started chest compressions in what had turned out to be a vain effort at saving her former mentor's life. She should have known she'd be ineffective. Been feeling like that a lot lately.

At the time though she'd pretty much held it together. She and Cho, good ol' solid and dependable Cho. Not Jane though. He'd almost gone into shock. She'd remembered reaching for his hand, trying to pull him out of it. But he'd been focused on the blood on her shirt… Bosco's blood…

Lisbon forced herself to take a breath.

It made sense. Blood probably meant more to Jane than to most people.

He'd pulled himself together reasonably quickly. Soon Patrick Jane was back in control. She'd actually been surprised how calm he'd been (relatively) once they'd figured out Red John was involved. Sure, she'd heard about the interrogation with Rebecca, heard from both Rigsby and Van Pelt how Jane had been shaken. And she felt for him, she really did. She'd appreciated the tequila… and that he'd bothered to go to the funeral at all.

But…

But where was he now? One of her friends dies, they're sleeping together and where is he? Oh that's right, she knew where he was. She'd seen him sitting in Bosco's former office poring over files. Lisbon hadn't needed to go into the room to see whose. In fact, she hadn't gone into the room at all. Jane obviously hadn't wanted company.

He'd snuck out early from the team's impromptu celebration mourning Sam. Jane couldn't even take an extra ten minutes to honour the dead. She knew there was no love lost between Jane and Bosco, but she'd thought they'd at least reached an understanding. She guessed he had been the one to bring the tequila … But she hadn't even seen him drink his, let alone stick around for the chorus of Amazing Grace.

She supposed that wasn't fair. Jane had taken a minute to try and cheer her up. And her consultant was obsessed with Red John, she knew that. She'd had it slammed in her face too many times to forget. And she knew Red John was painful for him, especially now. Especially since Rebecca'd given them that much more proof that everything the madman was all about Jane now. About causing Jane pain, torturing him. She couldn't imagine what that was like, having a serial killer obsessed with you, obsessed with ruining your life. No wonder Jane went a little nuts sometimes. Where Red John was concerned sometimes the socially acceptable wasn't always possible, at least in his eyes. Sometimes he did things that seemed horrible and heartless.

Red John… If she hadn't hated the psycho before… Maybe she should just let Jane kill him. She wanted to. She wanted to so badly. Jane'd make sure he'd suffer for his sins.

No. Lisbon shook her head. That was a dangerous path to go down. That was the way to madness, to entitled cops thinking they were above the law, to abuse and power trips. And she'd seen power trips in her time. They were never pretty. And she'd promised herself never again…

Which left her trying to control Jane at his most unhinged, trying to keep him legal, trying to be his conscience, to stop him from doing the cruel things he might otherwise.

Things like trying to force Sam out of a medically induced coma early just to interrogate him about Red John. She still couldn't quite believe that the man had literally walked over and turned off the damn morphine all the while spouting some nonsense about how it would have been what Bosco would have wanted.

And what had crack CBI Agent Teresa Lisbon been doing while all this had been going on? Why, she'd just stood there, completely motionless, shocked. Just thinking about it made her want to throw something.

On the other hand, if she was being fair to Jane…

No!

She was so sick of being fair. And she was so sick of everything being about Jane! His issues, his lack of conscience, his needs. Like nobody else was affected by Red John. Like nobody else's feelings mattered!

She was sick of always being the one to pick up the pieces by herself.

Why? Why was it always her? She knew she was in charge, but it still didn't seem fair! And she knew life wasn't fair, knew that her job meant she'd see far more than the usual amount of heartache and pain. She'd gone into it willingly and she'd never expected it to be easy, but, but…

But why did her team have to be the one to walk in and find Bosco and his team lying on the floor? Surely someone else could have wandered into that office. Why had she been the one literally trying to push the life back into Sam's body?

God, when she'd seen him lying there… And then when the doctor had told her that he probably... that it didn't look good. She'd been the one who'd had to tell him. She'd tried to lie her way out of it but Sam'd seen right through her. He always did. As if being the one to break the news wasn't enough, it'd become clear that Mandy wasn't going to make it back in time. That she was going to be the only one to sit with him. Not that she'd… Sam Bosco deserved to have someone there. And she'd been honoured that the person he'd wanted was her. But… oh god… when he'd told her he'd loved her… He'd loved her. She'd never really let …

Sure they'd been close, and she'd admired him, admitted that as a mentor she couldn't have had better. Respected his abilities, appreciated what he'd taught her, valued his friendship, liked his sarcastic sense of humour, liked when he made her laugh, liked when she'd made him laugh. But when they'd met he'd been married. And he had kids. Besides, they'd been almost-partners. It'd never been romantic. She'd known he'd cared about her, known he'd give up his life for her. She'd have returned the favour. But that was the job.

And so on that night when he'd done something that could have ruined his career she hadn't even blinked when she covered for him.

But he'd never actually said how much he cared, that he'd… She'd probably always known on some level, even before Jane had noticed… She'd been flattered, had liked that Bosco would always be there for her if she needed him, no matter what. Didn't matter that they weren't partners anymore, that they'd both moved on from the San Francisco PD. The way he'd looked at her sometimes, she'd known. She hadn't encouraged him of course. But she hadn't exactly discouraged him either.

God what kind of a person was she? He'd had a wife and children. And she'd known, even if she'd never expected him to admit…

But he had. On his deathbed. He hadn't asked her to give a message to his kids. No, he'd told her, her… That… Lisbon let out a choked sob. And she'd told him… that she

She wasn't in love with him. Didn't think so at least, but she did love him. Maybe she hadn't even realized it until she'd been told he probably wouldn't make it.

She still couldn't believe he was gone. Him and Minnelli, two of the few people she'd always been able to count on in her job. God if Cho quit tomorrow she'd just lose it.

And she'd already lost too much already. It wasn't fair.

Lisbon laughed mirthlessly. She didn't even have anyone to tell about it. No one to comfort her. It was the sort of thing she would have talked to Bosco about. Guess she couldn't do that anymore. She could tell Jane of course, but he was busy with his precious files. And Sam had wanted him to look out for her! Hah! Well, it was a testament to how far she'd sunk if Jane was the only one left to look out for her. Whole lot of comfort he was. Bastard.

But she shouldn't blame Jane. She knew him, knew what this had to be doing to him. She understood. She did.

She just didn't like it. In fact she resented the hell out of him for it.

No, she really didn't think she could be fair today.

Bosco was dead. Sam was… He had a family. He had a life, and Jane hadn't…

Not that his death was Jane's fault. Even she wasn't that unfair. But the man could have taken a day to mourn. Could have taken a couple of hours to sit with the team, could have left the files for one god damn day. To pay the respect that Sam Bosco deserved. But not Patrick Jane! No, he'd gone and skulked off by himself. Probably combing Bosco's files for something he'd missed.

God he really was a cold bastard.

She wanted to call him, tell him to get his ass to her place and then beat the crap out of him. But she wouldn't do that. Because it wasn't fair. Instead Lisbon opted for a blanket around her shoulders, another shot of tequila and senseless TV in the dark to numb her brain.

One of her closest friends gets shot and he can't even sit with her (the woman he's screwing) for a couple of hours. Doesn't even call to check on her.

Bastard.

She doesn't need him anyways.

xxxxx

Jane had been driving around Sacramento for hours now. Ever since hearing Bosco's whispered suspicions about Red John Jane he'd been itching to look through the new files. But the suspicions had been barely hints. If only they hadn't been called out on a case that day and he'd actually been able to meet Bosco in the morning. They could have talked; he'd have more than a vague idea of what was going on. As it was he had hints and whispers, nothing to latch onto. All he really knew was that Bosco had suspicions, suspicions that the other Agent hadn't told Lisbon.

The fact that Sam hadn't wanted Lisbon to know meant that he'd wanted to keep her out of it. And Jane understood that. Lisbon was to be kept out of this as much as possible in Sam Bosco's eyes. She was not to be put in the middle. Her career was not to suffer; she was not to suffer. Jane almost smiled. In some ways he and Bosco had a quite a bit in common. It was ironic, Jane thought to himself. Bosco being on the case would have made it easier to arrange for Red John's death when the time came. Bosco had understood what needed to be done in a way that Lisbon never could. She wouldn't let herself.

Lisbon.

He'd snuck out of the team's little memorial ceremony to go look at the files. If CBI agents were targets then Red John needed to be found as soon as possible. So he'd left to go search for that glimmer of a lead that Bosco had sensed was lurking just beneath the facts.

He'd known she wouldn't be happy about it when she noticed. But at least he hadn't left her alone. He wasn't that cruel. She'd had her team around her, in a way the closest thing to a family that Teresa Lisbon had. They'd have been able to comfort her in a way that he never could. After all, he was the reason Sam Bosco was dead. Rebecca had told him that. Everyone knew. Red John had killed Bosco and his team so that Jane could have his case back. Red John had wanted him to have the case. So he'd killed the impediment in Jane's way.

Now Red John was his again.

Just like he'd wanted.

And it made him nauseous. Four more deaths on his head. Lisbon would have told him they weren't his fault. But he couldn't go see Lisbon. He was responsible for the death of a man who'd loved her. A man she'd cared about deeply, even if she wasn't quite aware of it. He didn't deserve any comfort she might have been inclined to give.

Or maybe he was wrong. Maybe she hated him as she should.

He hadn't thought it was possible for something to simultaneously comfort and kill him to such an equal degree. He'd always known he should push her away. Maybe the choice had finally been taken out of his hands.

Maybe Red John had done him one more favour that week.

Red John may have started this, but he'd been the one to leave her. He'd left her with her team, but left her nonetheless. Jane had assumed they'd be able to comfort her far better than he ever could. After all, Grace was good at that, offering support. And if the more obvious support of the younger Agent wasn't quite Lisbon's cup of tea, well there was always Cho. Cho wouldn't abandon her. Jane was sure of that.

So it'd come as a shock when an hour earlier, while he was still frantically searching through the Red John files when Cho had dropped in to say goodnight.

"Find anything?" the Asian agent asked.

Jane looked up surprised, "No. Nothing. But I will."

"Good," Cho replied.

"You guys finally heading out?" he'd asked to fill the silence when it became obvious the other Agent wasn't about to leave.

Cho shrugged. "I am. Thought I'd wait a while for you, in case you wanted company. Lisbon left hours ago, Rigsby and Van Pelt not too long after that."

Jane glanced up at that. Lisbon had left? She was alone? He hadn't expected that, but he should have. Her team wouldn't abandon her, but they also wouldn't stop her from leaving them to grieve. "How was she?" he asked before he could stop himself. He knew he didn't need to specify who 'she' was.

Cho looked like he almost wanted to smile. "She'll be fine. She's strong," the agent told him.

Jane just nodded.

Cho was watching him carefully, "Go home Jane. You've probably read everything in here twice now. Give it a chance to settle in. Maybe inspiration will strike when you're not looking so hard."

He'd almost argued until he realized the other man was right. "Okay," he'd told Cho, putting the box away. "I'll head out in a minute. See you tomorrow Cho."

Cho had jut nodded. "It wasn't your fault Jane, even she knows that," he said before he left.

Sometimes Jane wished he could believe the platitudes people constantly tried to feed each other.

He'd been circling her neighbourhood for over an hour now, each time getting progressively closer. It probably wasn't a great idea. She wouldn't want him. She'd be furious with him. She'd always hated how he got when Red John was involved, and now with Bosco…

Besides, who's to say she'd even let him in the door? He'd abandoned her.

When they'd started whatever was between them he'd promised himself that even if he wasn't good for her, he'd at least try to be there. He'd promised himself he wouldn't let her be alone anymore. He'd promised himself that he'd let her feel, let herself go a bit. And now, the first sign of trouble and he's afraid to go to her. To get what he deserves.

He really is terrible for her.

But he wanted her. He needed her. Needed to see that she was okay. And if making her alright meant that she screamed at him until she couldn't speak then that's what she deserved.

So he'd go. And he'd hope that she'd have the strength to finally do what was necessary.

Jane shook his head. It was almost laughable. Even now he was putting everything back on her. But who knows, when he got there maybe he'd find some scrap of long-forgotten courage from somewhere and end it himself.

It was for the best.

xxxxx

Jane decided to let himself in using the spare key she thought she'd cleverly concealed from prying eyes. If she was asleep he didn't want to wake her and he also didn't want to give her the opportunity to shut the door in his face. As quietly as he could Jane crept into Lisbon's home. At first he thought she had gone to bed, until he saw the flickering of the TV out of the corner of his eye.

If Lisbon was surprised to see him she didn't show it. He knew she'd heard him come in. He hadn't been that quiet. Besides, her poker face wasn't quite in place. He'd seen the vein in her neck pulse and her eyes dart towards him the second the door had opened. He moved silently towards her, taking in the ratty t-shirt and sweatpants, the blanket around her shoulders, the red eyes and the tequila. And he tried not to think about the last time he'd seen her this broken. He definitely wasn't going to think about what had happened afterwards in her bedroom.

Suddenly she spoke, her voice surprisingly normal, "D'you find anything in the files?" she asked.

Not 'What are you doing here?' he noticed, not the expected 'Get Lost.' No, not Lisbon. There wasn't even any accusation in her tone. And that was somehow worse. "No," he admitted quietly. "There are hints maybe, but nothing concrete to go on."

Lisbon just nodded, and poured herself another glass of tequila. "Want any?" she asked him. "I'd ask you if you wanted another, but I don't think you had any to begin with did you?" She turned to look at him then, her eyes vaguely accusatory before nodding towards her kitchen, "Glasses are in the second cupboard on the right if you do."

Jane inched slightly closer. "Never was much of a tequila fan," he admitted.

Lisbon seemed to find that almost funny, "No, of course not."

"I didn't mean to leave you alone," he almost whispered.

"Hm," she murmured. "Didn't you?"

Jane felt his stomach clench in spite of himself. "I thought you'd stay with the team," he told her truthfully.

"Didn't want the team," Lisbon answered flatly. She loved her people, and Minnelli had been right, they were good people. But the thought of sitting there with them while they wondered how she was doing, how much Bosco had meant to her, and close the two of them had been back in San Francisco would have made everything just that much worse.

"I figured they'd be better than I was at least. They'd understand, have a better idea of what you were going through as a cop. I never was much good at comforting. Lisbon I…" It was my fault he tried to tell her. You deserve better. He looked away, the words wouldn't come. "I thought it was for the best."

"Did you?" she sounded almost amused. Of course Jane had thought it was for the best. It wouldn't have even occurred to him to ask her what she thought. He'd just look into her eyes and decide on what he saw there. Unfortunately, despite what the men around her seemed to think, her eyes weren't that honest.

They lapsed into an uncomfortable silence while Lisbon drank her tequila, her fury at him rising. He had the nerve to show up at her house late at night and tell her that he'd snuck away for her own good? It'd never been about her. "So," she said brightly. "You must be thrilled to have your case back. You couldn't even wait until he was in the ground overnight could you?"

"Lisbon…"

She ignored him. "And I suppose if you'd found something you'd have wanted us to go out tonight. I guess I should count my blessings I'm not being called in right now."

"I need to catch him," Jane told her desperately.

Lisbon sighed, her shoulders slumping as she tried to burrow further into her couch. "I know."

"I wasn't trying to be disrespectful… I just…" Jane trailed off again.

"You need to catch him," she told him wryly. He needed.

"Yeah." Jane said, his voice strengthening. He knew she'd understand that at least. After all, she was a cop. "You know he needs to be caught. Everyone does. Bosco knew… he wouldn't have minded Lisbon."

But she turned on him then, suddenly livid. "What the hell do you know about Bosco Jane? Come on, tell me! I dare you. Tell me what you think you know! He wouldn't have minded would he? Like he wouldn't have minded if you'd removed him from a medically induced coma because pain is nothing?"

She paused, chest heaving. "Maybe pain is nothing to you Jane, maybe it reminds you you're alive. And like you said, Bosco was always probably going to die anyways wasn't he? What's a little pain one way or another? After all, the morphine wasn't making him better. Never mind that severe pain can have severe effects on a person's health. Never mind that him waking up in that amount of pain could have put enough strain on his body to ensure that he never woke up again! What does it matter to you? Apparently pain is nothing to you. Especially other people's. And there was a chance he had information about Red John, which is obviously more important. And then, to top it off, you expected me to just let you, to think your explanation was reasonable. You are a bastard. He was my friend! And you… you… God, I don't even know why you're here right now."

"I didn't want you to be alone," Jane told her truthfully.

"How very thoughtful of you," Lisbon spat back.

But even though he knew he deserved all he was getting and more, Jane found he couldn't just sit back and take it. "You think I wanted any of this? That I wanted that case so badly that I wanted Bosco dead? Why would I want that? Bosco was going to give me details already. You think I was happy Bosco was in that hospital? You think I like seeing you hurt?" he asked her.

Lisbon jumped off her couch to face him, balling her hands into fists. "Of course not you ass. But forgive me if just this once I can't make this about you. I lost someone close to me today. Forgive me Jane if for the next 24 hours your needs aren't my top priority."

"I'm not asking you to make me your top priority Lisbon," he told her, running his hand through his hair in frustration. "And even if you were willing to, I don't want you to. You don't think I wouldn't bring Bosco back if I could? All I can do now is try to ensure he's the last victim."

"Most people wouldn't have done that by sabotaging his best chance at survival," Lisbon couldn't help pointing out.

"I did not sabotage…" Jane started, feeling a stab of guilt. No wonder Rebecca had told him he reminded her of Red John. Maybe there was more truth to that than she could have ever known.

"Only because the nurse walked in the room," Lisbon insisted. "Otherwise you would have."

"It wouldn't have made any difference," Jane told her quietly.

"You didn't know that at the time!" Lisbon nearly screamed. "As it was, at least he got a few minutes to say goodbye, to come to terms. But to you Red John is still more important."

"Of course he is!" Jane told her, feeling himself getting angry. She knew what he was in this for. She knew.

"It's one thing to risk your own life Jane," Lisbon told him. "It's another thing altogether to risk…"

But he interrupted her and held her angry gaze. "I need to catch him Lisbon! He got to Bosco's team he could get to anyone. People aren't even safe at the CBI! Don't you get it? He's made it about me, and I have to stop him, before, before…" he trailed off, finding he couldn't look at her anymore.

"Before what Jane?" she asked him, her voice suddenly soft.

He forced himself to find her eyes then. "Before he takes another team."

Oh, god. Lisbon thought to herself. He thought, Jane actually thought... She took a step towards him without realizing it, uncaring when he stepped back. "This is not your fault Jane," she told him, her voice firm. "We're CBI agents. We know the risks. It's not your job to protect us."

"No, I just get to find the bodies," he told her caustically. He wouldn't let hers become one of them.

"Jane…" she whispered painfully.

Jane ignored the interruption. "I'm toxic Lisbon, and you know it. Hell, I think tonight just proved that. He knows more than we ever thought. He's so far ahead of us sometimes I don't know how we'll ever catch up. So yes, I'm going to take every minute I possible can and devote it to catching and killing him. I'm sorry if that upsets you Lisbon, I really am."

"Jane…"

"He'll make you a target," Jane told her, before adding as an afterthought, "If he hasn't already."

"You don't know that," she insisted.

"YES I DO! He's made it about me Lisbon. This is all about toying with me, causing me pain. It's a game to him. Probably the only reason he hasn't killed you and your team already is that he thinks I need you. I will not let another four agents die because of me Lisbon."

"Bosco's team dying is not your fault. No one thinks it is your fault," she insisted desperately.

"That's not quite true," he told her quietly.

"Jane, you can't…" she started.

"Actually I can; I have to." Jane told her firmly. "And don't try and make me feel better, I don't deserve it Lisbon. You shouldn't waste your time with me."

"I don't care what you think you do and do not deserve tonight Jane. Don't you dare tell me what to do or how to feel again," Lisbon told him firmly.

Jane was silent.

Lisbon felt her anger surfacing again. "So tell me, what was it you thought Bosco missed in those files." Then she paused, "But Bosco didn't miss it did he? He had his suspicions. It's why he wanted to meet with you. That's why he wanted to talk to you before he died. That never had anything to do with me, did it?" She'd always thought it was strange that Sam would have told Jane to look out for her. Bosco'd been concerned about Jane's influence over her from day one. She should have known that was a lie. And a part of her had even been stupidly pleased that even when he was dying Bosco had been looking out for her. But Jane would have known that too, would have known it would distract her from the truth. He was no doubt trying to keep something about Red John from her so he could go off and murder a man without a second look.

He glanced at her then. He should have known she'd figure it out. His Lisbon was too smart for her own good sometimes. He tried to evade her question, "Bosco cared about you Lisbon. He wanted to make sure you had someone looking out for you."

"Somehow I don't think he wanted it to be you," she told him.

"We reached an understanding, you know that," Jane replied.

Lisbon nodded unsurprised that he hadn't actually answered her. "I'm still not going to let you kill him Jane."

"You want him dead as much as I do," Jane told her quietly.

"That's not the point!" she snapped.

"Then what is the point?" he demanded.

"The point is I refuse to sell out my principles for you!" Lisbon practically shouted.

"Good!" Jane told her.

"Good? That's all you can say?" Lisbon asked, aghast.

"What else do you want me to say? I'm glad we won't back down. I'm glad you're stronger than I am. We both know how this is going to go eventually Lisbon," he replied softly.

"I guess we do," she told him just quietly as she sat back down on her couch.

Jane sighed and sat down on a chair beside her. "I am sorry about Bosco Lisbon."

"I know."

"He was a better man than I'll ever be. And I know you cared about him. And I'm sorry that I can't be there for you the way that you deserve," he added. When she didn't reply he glanced at her, but she was busy staring solidly at the wall. "This is just something I have to do. If it's any consolation I wish I didn't"

"Yeah that makes me feel all better," she told him tiredly as she continued to stare at her wall.

"It's why you'd be better off without me. It's why it's better if you don't know. It's why I should be doing this alone as much as possible," Jane told her quietly, looking straight ahead, really looking anywhere but at her face.

Lisbon started a little at that. The idiot thought he was protecting her. He was trying to leave her for her own good. The alternative option of trying to work within the law hadn't even occurred to him. She let her head drop to her chest. Maybe it would be better if they stopped whatever they were doing. She'd wondered more than once before this if it was worth it.

But her mind kept coming back to the fact that Jane was actually trying to be responsible in a twisted kind of way, because he did care. He was looking out for her, trying to shoulder his horrible burden alone.

Compassion welled up for him, replacing some of the anger. She remembered what that was like, shouldering a burden alone. After her Mom had died she'd been the one everybody turned to, the one who had to take care of everything, to keep things running smoothly. There'd been no one to turn to, no one she'd felt that could possibly understand. She remembered resenting people who'd meant well, and tried to help, but couldn't always be there. She remembered resenting that all of this had fallen on her shoulders due to circumstances completely outside her control. She knew it wasn't the same, that what Jane was going through had to be far, far worse… but he was still alone with his pain.

Could she abandon him the way she'd been abandoned so many years ago? Could she be one of those people who meant well, but couldn't ever quite go the distance? She knew what it felt like to have the weight of the world resting on your shoulders. To know that if you screwed up, other people would get hurt. Not to mention, Jane isolated and alone was exactly what Red John wanted.

If she let him leave then they'd both be alone.

Jane hadn't asked for any of this either. But he was constantly suffering because of it.

Somehow that didn't seem quite fair.

She'd already lost Bosco and Minnelli. In another minute Jane would get up to leave and she'd lose him too.

And that really was the un-fairest thing of all.

Jane placed his hands on the coffee table between them. He should leave. He needed to leave. He'd end up getting her killed, if her death warrant wasn't signed already. She didn't deserve this. She'd already lost too much because of him. And he knew her, she'd let him take more. Because of some perverted need to protect, some sort of ridiculous sense of responsibility, and because of a misplaced fondness for him.

So he would have to go. He'd have to be the one to leave.

For her.

He'd have to be strong enough.

In just another minute he'd get up and walk out the door. It should be easy. She wouldn't stop him. She was furious with him. And he'd made sure she understood what she was eventually getting into. When they got back to work he'd keep things professional from here on in. No more meals at her apartment. No more showing up with movies on the weekend. No more nights where they fell in bed and did everything but sleep.

No more moments of calm.

He just needed another couple of minutes to prepare himself for it.

He sighed, tightening his shoulders, and preparing to stand.

Then he felt it, her hand slipping into his. Her fingers tightening ever so slightly.

And his heart stopped beating. Just for a minute.

And he felt his own fingers tighten around hers against his will, ashamed at the relief flooding his system.

He still couldn't quite look at her, but knew he wasn't going anywhere. Not tonight anyways.

Maybe Red John hadn't completely won this round.

xxxxx

Fin

A/N: Okay guys, I would love to know what you think of this one. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world to write. I think it's one of the angstier things I've ever written, and I'm not quite sure about it. It's hard to explain. So I'd appreciate anyone who takes the time to review.