Softly, Like a Song
Disclaimer: Don't own anything…lyrics by Extreme, Michelle Branch, Alanis Morrisette, Coldplay, Edwin McCain, and INXS.
Spoiler: 2.13 (Redline)
A/N: My entry into the Jello Forever February Challenge. Prompt: Love Songs. For Chibi, who's the sweetest romantic I know.
"How easy it would be to show me how you feel
more than words is all you have to do to make it real…"
She's so lost in the comfort and warmth of his arms, one of her favorite songs emptying her mind of anything and everything with a familiar cadence, that she almost doesn't notice it.
Yet when she does, everything seems to fall into place, all the little pieces of the puzzle that have unknowingly been swirling in her head for months now come together, and foolishly she can't keep the smile off her face.
Meanwhile, Jane is interrogating her about the instrument she played in high school, but this new information, this realization that's making her blush incessantly and think a mile a minute is even more reason not to give it up.
Make him suffer a little.
As he lists off possibilities, slowly making his way through the wind instruments, all she can focus on is the way his breath tickles her hair and his lips graze her ear.
Before, she would've thought it an accident, but now, now she thinks differently.
If the erratic rhythm of his heartbeat is any indication, she's not wrong.
Eventually, the song fades away and even though she wants nothing more than to stay this way for a bit longer, she peels away from him, only to be met with a whimsical smile,
"What? You don't want to wait for the Macarena encore?"
She laughs, hoping her blush has faded as his eyes sweep over her appreciatively,
"Oh how I wish, but unfortunately no. Pesky things such as paperwork suck the fun out of everything apparently,"
He grimaces a bit too dramatically and she seriously tries to keep from grinning.
He looks so different now, it's as if she sees him in a new light now…more human, less bulletproof, she supposes.
"Can't I stay here? I don't do paperwork anyway."
"No way, you've done enough damage. C'mon." she motions him to step off the dance floor and he follows begrudgingly,
"That fight wasn't exactly my fault. Plus, those dimwits deserved it. Frogman kicked some overdue ass," The blond defends, but she just rolls her eyes to herself while his rant continues.
Eventually, they make it out to the high school parking lot.
Jane is still talking and Lisbon quickly feels that innate irritation with him creep up past the amusement and minor delight, so she impulsively takes her car keys out and huffs at him,
"Here, if you drive, will you shut up?"
He stops mid-speech, obviously shocked by her gesture. His cerulean gaze immediately narrows, going from playful to inquisitive in a matter of seconds. There's a moment of silence as he invariably tries to read her and she feel a little nervous that he's figured her out, but he just steps closer and accepts the keys from her grasp.
Her breath hitches ever so slightly in her throat at their proximity.
Even in the dimness of the night, his sea-colored eyes seem to stand out, even brighter against the dark backdrop.
His gaze is so intense, it's almost unnerving and just as Lisbon thinks she might have the courage to do something incredibly wild and outrageous (kiss him), his mouth breaks out into a wide grin and he says,
"Thank you, Lisbon. I'm sure it took a lot out of you to relinquish so much control."
And he's disappeared to the driver's side of the car before she can cause him any bodily harm.
Nevertheless, perhaps a half hour into their drive as she replays the evening over in her head, she begins smiling and it doesn't go unnoticed,
"What are you thinking about Agent Lisbon? Must be good considering the smile on your face."
He pulls her out of her reverie with this cheeky comment, but nothing can dampen her spirit.
She gives him a side glance but doesn't answer right away. Looking at him, despite how suave and put together he is, she feels like she has something on him, like she's just as clever, as if they're on an even leveled playing field and it feels good.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" The brunette quips back, but secretly she hopes he doesn't find out, because despite her elation, she's not sure what to think of it herself.
Because regardless of his sordid past and larger than life personality, tonight it's been reaffirmed that he is still just a human being, still bendable to human desires…
He's still a man, and if what little romantic experience she's had has taught her it's that a man doesn't smell a woman's hair unless he likes her…really likes her…
And Patrick Jane is not the exception to that rule.
"I recognize the way you make me feel
It's hard to think that
you might not be real…"
Over the next several weeks, Lisbon slowly begins to realize that she might actually have a crush on Jane.
When the thought first hits her, she's home alone on a Tuesday night, watching a sitcom about 20-somethings that doesn't interest her in the least, when randomly, out of nowhere, she wonders what Jane is doing at this very moment.
She's so shocked by her own psyche that she nearly drops the glass of wine in her hand, nearly staining the beautiful white couch she just bought a few months ago.
However, the thought of ruining this beauty doesn't terrify her nearly as much as the thought that she might have feelings for someone who is still a married man, perhaps not technically, but mentally and emotionally.
With the revelation she made during their dance rapidly losing its credibility, Lisbon realizes very quickly that she needs to get rid these stupid feelings before it's too late.
In a small bout of immaturely displaced anger, she finishes a bottle of Merlot and blames Jane for her discovery.
She blames his charm, his wicked grin, the way he can give her a once over with the most leering stare, making her blush all over without feeling cheap.
Most of all, she blames how protective he is of her, how he follows her everywhere she goes, no sense of personal space as he meanders into her office every morning with a cup of her favorite brew and a mischievous smile, ready to tease her senselessly or if there's work to do, bounce ideas off of her.
She also blames the fact that after Red John's very personal attack and Minelli's unexpected departure, Jane has begun including her more in his plans, in the way he thinks, doesn't just keep her in the dark and leave her to clean up his messes.
Whether he's doing it out of guilt or true affection, she's not sure but she finds that ever since that dance, her usually clear mind has been in a complete haze, courtesy of none other than Patrick Jane.
She only now realizes what Minelli meant when he said they were too close…especially from her end.
So for a few weeks, Lisbon tries to push these feelings away, tries to deny the stirring she feels deep inside doesn't amplify whenever Jane is around, and the fact that she takes a little more care getting ready for work every morning has nothing to do with him. More importantly she tries to ignore the surge of excitement that courses through her veins whenever he closes her office door, leans into her desk, and says, "I've got a plan to catch this guy."
She tries to push this all away, but fails miserably.
Every day it becomes more difficult to work with him side by side and not wonder where he goes after their cases are closed, wonder what cologne he uses, or what his favorite movie is.
Instead, she tries to spend a little less time with him, if only to torture herself a little less, maybe somehow desensitize herself of these unwelcomed emotions she has just only begun to feel.
She thinks she's doing pretty well, compartmentalizing all her feelings like she usually does, and her relationship with Jane doesn't suffer too much.
They still banter, he still brings her coffee, still finds new ways to irritate her everyday, and Lisbon almost convinces herself that the crush she had on him was just a figment of her imagination, a product of too little sleep and too much work.
A hallucination…a delusion if you will.
That is until a case they're working on points to the ex-wife as the killer and Jane decides to sit in on the interrogation.
Lisbon lets Van Pelt take the lead on this one, and watches from the adjacent room, only to find that she doesn't like what she sees.
She knows Jane is attractive.
If she notices this, then other women certainly do, and in however many years they've worked together, countless women have flirted, batted their eyelashes, and generally salivated in Jane's presence. So Lisbon shouldn't be too surprised when the ex-wife keeps sending flirtatious smiles to Jane as he walks (seemingly) carefree around the room, pretending to simply be observant.
He's impervious to the woman's attention and Lisbon knows he doesn't even return it, but something still bothers her about the scenario, a foreign stab of pain and then something akin to jealousy creeps up on her gradually. When she steps back and catches her own reflection in the one-way mirror, the scowl on her face stuns her as does the look of complete envy that accompanies it.
Lisbon takes a deep breath, thanking god that she's alone in the room, and training her eyes on Jane again as he begins his series of questions, she decides that no matter the outcome, she has to know.
Must know if Jane has feelings for her and there's only one way she can find that out.
a couple hours after the ex-wife signs her confession, Lisbon determinedly walks into the bullpen and catches Jane's attention over the edge of his Sudoku puzzle.
"We need to talk," she says in a stern voice, hoping not to spark the interest of her remaining agents, and quickly disappears back into her office, knowing Jane will follow.
She's not sure why she chose to do this now, during the afternoon, when the CBI is still buzzing with activity, but she finally worked up the courage and she knows it won't last till the evening.
Jane has the common sense to close the door as he walks in, though he halts when he sees her pacing,
"Anything the matter, Lisbon? Am I in trouble?"
The playful twinge in his voice surprisingly calms her down enough that she stops moving, instead coming to stand a few feet away from him as he leans on her desk.
"No, no. you're fine. Good work on the McKinney case by the way."
His eyebrows raise unnaturally high and she would smile if she wasn't so nervous, but she is.
"Whoa, who are you and what have you done with my Lisbon?"
She supposes it should be a bit annoying that she so rarely compliments him that he makes a comment like that, but all Lisbon registers are the last two words.
And all of the sudden, the anxiety she's been feeling melts away under his bemused stare.
She's not quite certain he reciprocates her feelings yet, but the mortification she may feel if she's wrong doesn't deter her any longer.
This is Jane after all.
He's the same man who sacrificed his only solid link to Red John to save her life, he's the same man who makes sure she has a solid breakfast every morning (even if it is donuts and coffee), and he's the same man who's seen her in her darkest hour and never said a word to anyone, never mentioned it again, never ever made her feel uncomfortable.
Even if he doesn't have feelings for her, even if he's still inextricably tied to his past, she can cope with his rejection, because she knows he would never take advantage of her vulnerability.
So, Lisbon bridges the gap between them and presses the lightest of kisses to his lips.
She keeps her eyes shut the whole time, perhaps as a defense mechanism, so it feels almost surreal, dream like, when she feels herself pushed against a warm body, hands roaming as a soft mouth and a particularly curious tongue deepen the kiss she initiated.
There are a million thoughts racing through her mind, but she wills them away, choosing to focus on the softness of Jane's lips as they brush against hers, the way he leaves no crevice of her mouth unexplored.
This could be the only time she gets to kiss Patrick Jane and despite him being a perpetual thorn in her side, the embrace is too mind blowing to think of anything else, sending tingles of pleasure through her entire being as she feels herself relax in his arms.
Cold air runs between them as Jane slowly pulls back and Lisbon finds herself feeling a bit empty, a bit cold, and despite the courage she demonstrated prior to the kiss, a bit horrified.
She bows her head, hands sliding from around Jane's neck to rest on his vest.
He doesn't let her go, just breathes heavily besides her, but Lisbon won't look him in the eye, a little afraid of what this all means.
"How did you know?" He whispers suddenly and her eyes meet his cerulean gaze involuntarily, the bizarre question completely distracting her from the uncanny dazed look Jane wears.
"Know what?" She asks, trying very hard to conceal the fact that the kiss they just shared has left her trembling and her knees weak.
She's not expecting Jane's gentle smile or the way he affectionately reaches up and tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear. The gesture sends goose bumps down her spine, leaving the wheels in her mind turning at an unhealthy rate…
Could he really have feelings for her?
"How did you know I'd kiss you back?"
She looks at him for a moment, eyebrow furrowed in confusion, "I didn't."
She explains, but when his smile transforms into a smirk, Lisbon realizes he doesn't believe her,
"Don't lie to me, Lisbon. I know you well enough to know that you never do anything unless you've thought it through, evaluated the risk, explored all possible outcomes. Now, be honest and tell me how you knew I have feelings for you."
At that moment, the brunette detective lets out a breath she didn't know she was holding.
Nothing registers except the fact that she was right. Suddenly, Lisbon realizes that when she envisioned Jane confessing something like this, it was always in this casual, nonchalant way, and it makes her smile.
He's definitely not as unpredictable and mysterious as he thinks he is.
Maybe it's time someone informed him of that.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Lisbon says, bating him slowly.
Jane raises his eyebrow at her, obviously miffed, "oh c'mon woman, give it up."
She laughs while pausing, but ultimately gives in.
"At the high school reunion dance, you smelled my hair."
And if the look of complete and utter bewilderment and disbelief on Jane's usually composed face doesn't shock her, then Jane's next move certainly does.
Because whoever said you never forget your firsts, obviously never got kissed twice by Patrick Jane...
"You've already won me over in spite of me
And don't be alarmed if I fall head over feet…"
They don't publicize the shift in their relationship.
In fact, to the untrained eye there is absolutely no change in their interaction, no hidden looks, no lingering touches, nothing; nothing to indicate that they're no longer just a consultant and a lead agent, but something more (even though they haven't even had a proper first date).
There's no poorly kept secrecy between them, and Lisbon quickly realizes this is because when Jane needs to hide something, he overcompensates by being his usual, flippant self, entertaining everyone within a few feet of him, and acting as overtly as possible in his affection towards her.
It's as if he's using reverse psychology on everyone else.
By being closer to her, addressing her more, blatantly inquiring about her whereabouts, he shifts the suspicion away from them, usually earning an eye roll from Cho or a huff from Rigsby in the process.
Lisbon is perpetually amused by this, but also relieved, because in taking the burden of concealing their closeness onto himself, Jane not only understands without her telling him that they need to keep this private, but also lets her be boss lady, focus on her job instead of worrying that someone might be onto them.
And then like a tidal wave through a calm sea, with a smirk all too reminiscent of arrogance and borderline sleaziness, Walter Mashburn swoops into her world, knocking her off guard.
Sure, men have hit on her before during cases, but it's never as blatant as Mashburn and it's never someone so rich, self absorbed, or so similar to Jane. The fact that he does this all under Jane's nose and the latter plays up on it, taking advantage of her obvious discomfort at being admired so openly by someone else, throws Lisbon even more off balance.
It doesn't help that every chance Jane gets, he encourages Mashburn in his advances and even lets Rigsby know that the playboy has the hots for her. She can't help but feel annoyed with him for appearing so okay with another man pursuing her so persistently, especially when that man bears a shocking resemblance to Jane himself. She's never been insecure about her relationships, but the way Jane keeps pushing and encouraging her starts to grate her nerves.
That's why when he pulls up to her in that impossibly flashy and probably very fast Mercedes, she can't get out of work mode and immediately questions him. Yet as he tries to convince her with his heart melting grin and playful eyes, she sees a flicker of something, perhaps nerves in his demeanor and it hits her like a cold bucket of water.
Every look, wink, and smile Jane has given her in these last few days flashes in her mind and Lisbon realizes that the whole reason for his encouragement of Mashburn, all his suggestive comments about her going for it, were just a reflection of that part of him that is just a little bit insecure, a little envious, and worried.
And she's oddly flattered by it, because nothing short of his past ever fazes the consultant and the realization that she's somehow responsible for the split second of well concealed anxiety in his eye sends a surge of butterflies into her stomach that flutter all the way up to her chest.
It's obvious from his eagerness that he's trying to impress her, cleverly using a tactic more appropriate of someone like Mashburn than himself. Though, he and the millionaire have a lot of the same traits, somehow Lisbon knows, can tell that Jane would far more subtle in his wooing, unless of course it was an extreme situation…
The thought that he might be feeling just a little possessive leaves her uncharacteristically giddy, lightheaded. Just by looking at him, she knows Jane's aware that she won't be saying no to the 'empty glamour' she's in such desperate need of, especially when it's coming from him.
So when he suggests the restaurant in Napa, Lisbon doesn't think about how ironic it is that on their very first date, she's in work clothes and he's driving a car on lend from a guy who not a day ago propositioned her.
Instead she loses herself in the sensation of the wind tangling her hair and the thought that Jane looks criminally good behind the wheel, impish smile on his face and his hand warm on her thigh as they break every speed limit known to man...
"The green eyes, you're the one that I wanted to find
And anyone who tried to deny you, must be out of their mind…"
The shrill sound of her doorbell reaches the bathroom as soon as she shuts the water off.
Lisbon wraps a large, white towel around herself, grabs one for her hair to prevent dripping water on the carpet, and runs downstairs.
It's early on a Sunday morning, but for some reason she doesn't even wonder who it is, knows by the blond curls peaking through the glass part of her door that it couldn't be anyone else.
When she swings the door open, she greets him with a brief smile, and turns around, asking what he wants for breakfast as she heads into the kitchen.
She's so focused on getting the water out of her hair that at first, Jane's silence doesn't come off strange; however, when she asks him what kind of tea he would like and he still doesn't answer, she turns around, set on asking him what's wrong.
However, upon meeting his eye, her breath hitches ever so slightly and she doesn't say anything, can't say anything.
Jane watches her with an intensity she's never seen before. The way his eyes pour over her, as if trying to take in every detail, memorize every freckle on her body hypnotizes her, at the same time coating her skin with goose bumps as the air between them sizzles with anticipation.
Somehow the towel falls to the floor, only to be replaced with soft, eager hands, and before Lisbon can comprehend that she's the one responsible for her state of undress, Jane's mouth is on hers, hot, wet, and mind blowing.
Lisbon doesn't remember the last time she had this feeling, but as she finds herself pressed up intimately against him, bare skin melting into the softness of his suit and vest, the tingling that starts all the way at her toes and engulfs her leaves only one thought in her mind.
She wants him and she has to have him.
The urgency transfers to her movements, which seem erratic and unfocused, nibble hands tracing the buttons on his vest, snapping them open without caring for the frailty of the material.
Jane doesn't seem to mind. He finds himself feeling both inebriated and clearheaded, it's an odd duality but he doesn't waste time sorting his thoughts. Instead his hands brush soft skin, trace over curves, lips finding Lisbon's trigger point easily, the dip right above her collarbone, which he attacks both with his tongue and his mouth, taking distinct pleasure in the soft, shallow breaths escaping her slightly parted lips.
He'd planned on taking her out to breakfast today, maybe walking around town, shopping, but as she pushes his suit jacket over his shoulders, breasts brushing against his chest, Jane thinks this is probably a much better way to spend a lazy Sunday.
He doesn't anticipate the shiver that runs through his spine when their naked torsos come into contact, but regardless of how weak with desire he feels, he pulls back from their languid kiss, ready to ask where the bedroom, but the dark green eyes staring back at him, determined and passion filled let him know that if there's one place they will not make it to right now, its her bedroom.
And he can't find it in himself to care.
Much later, as they sit side by side on Lisbon's couch, her naked legs draped over his lap as they eat from the same box of Vietnamese noodles, Jane can't resist reaching over and running his fingers through her hair, smiling as he undoes the tangles.
Lisbon, who has just succeeded in catching a particularly stubborn cashew with her chopsticks, stops chewing and gives him a certain look when she catches him smiling amusedly,
"Nothing," Jane shrugs, not tearing his eyes away, "I just realized that I can honestly say my intentions were completely pure when I stopped by this morning."
"Oh really?" Lisbon raises her eyebrow, "so you weren't planning on taking me on my kitchen table and leaving me with a god awful bruise?"
She's obviously teasing but Jane has the sudden impulse to lean over to her side and slide up the jersey she's wearing to her upper thigh, where the skin is already turning purplish from her accidental encounter with the table.
Lisbon unconsciously sucks in her breath as his lips ghost over the tender flesh, an imperceptible flick of his tongue reawakening already aroused nerves and unsurprisingly distracting her from the dull ache from the bruise.
"I'm sorry," Jane whispers, rising up to her level, eyes communicating genuine concern before turning humorous again, "but what did you expect me to do when you looked at me the way you did?"
He nuzzles her neck as he says this; lips tracing her collarbone again in what has become in a matter of hours a familiar pattern. Any witty remark she had in mind, quickly fades as he pries the box of noodles from her hands and pulls her into his lap.
His hands slide underneath her jersey, pulling it over her head. An unconscious sigh escapes her lips as bare skin makes contact. But before she can kiss him, properly explore his mouth as she's been aching to every minute since he stepped into her home, Jane pulls her back slightly, an undefined cerulean gaze trained on her with rare intensity,
"I'm serious you know," he says, barely above a whisper, "It's always your eyes. I can't deny you anything when you look at me sometimes…"
She's not sure how to respond to something like that, especially when he looks at her so candidly, so unlike he usually is, devoid of any barriers, no disguises, no farce, just him…
It's too early for this, but the tightness in her chest alerts Lisbon to the fact that her heart is quickly catching up to her mind and she's falling fast and hard; however, she's not sure she's ready to admit that she can't deny him either.
So instead she presses her lips softly to his, hoping that will be all the confirmation he needs, and when Jane reciprocates by pushing her down on the couch, the brunette realizes there are far more efficient ways to communicate than words...
"You're my survival, you're my living proof.
My love is alive -- not dead…"
Red John dies on a Tuesday.
Lisbon knows this, because when Rigsby runs into her office, breathlessly announcing the news, Jane's trying to guess his horoscope without looking at the newspaper, which Lisbon holds away from him, the date and weekday neatly printed in the corner of the page.
Her eyes immediately turn to the blond, who looks both bewildered and confused, but it's only his initial reaction, for when Rigsby explains further what was written on the fax from the Davis PD, there's a flash of fire in his blue eyes that's quickly extinguished into nothingness, his expression virtually unreadable.
A shiver runs through her spine, but she has no time to contemplate it, because within two minutes, her entire team is piling into an SUV and she doesn't even bat an eyelash as Rigsby breaks every speed limit possible, making it to the overpass on 92 in just under 10 minutes.
A journey that usually takes twice as long.
She relinquishes shot gun to Jane, who looks a little winded but calm…almost too calm and Lisbon is infinitely thankful that despite dating for almost a year, they haven't officially announced it to the CBI, because now she has a reason to keep away from him, propriety and professionalism taking over to quell her panic.
She knows deep inside if it were just the two of them in the car, she would offer her comfort, and she's certain the state of mind he's in would not permit Jane to accept it.
So instead, Lisbon settles for the soft but almost imperceptible brush of their fingers as they exit the vehicle at the same time, and although Jane won't meet her eye, the slight curl of his pinky around her palm lets her know her Jane; her Patrick is still in there somewhere…so she doesn't give up hope.
That little nugget of information keeps her going through the motions, keeps her authoritative mask on, the serious expression, providing the calm strength she exudes on the job.
Van Pelt and Rigsby stay a bit behind, speaking to the locals who have gathered around the scene, hoping to assist the local law enforcement in fending off any news reporters that may show up.
After all, news just surfaced that a high profile serial killer is one of the drivers fatally wounded in the triple car wreck on the highway ramp.
Not only that, but apparently there are rumors that he is indeed the elusive Red John, because there is a body in his trunk, a pretty blond girl who fits the description of a UC Davis student who went missing two days ago.
Her body is apparently slashed in a similar pattern as the rest of his victims and her toes are painted red, presumably in her own blood.
However, for the public, this is mere speculation, just rumors, ones Lisbon is well aware of as she walks up to the tapered off area.
The first thing that registers in her mind, even before a uniform approaches her is the direction of the cars, now smashed against the side of the freeway ramp.
A few miles ahead she can make out the sign that says "Sacramento-10 miles", and any doubt that the man who drove the middle car is indeed Red John vanishes.
"He was bringing her to us."
She expects it to be Jane by her side, confirming her realization but it's Cho who speaks, and when her eyes flicker to his, she nods in agreement.
If her second in command is convinced than so she is.
Due to the extreme circumstances, neither the body of the driver nor the body in the trunk have been removed; and as the uniform makes his way to them, ready to explain the situation, all Lisbon sees is Jane, sneaking beneath the crime scene tape, peering first into the trunk, and then walking over to the driver's side.
He lingers there for a moment too long and even from a distance she can see the tension that invades his body, the tightness in his shoulders as he braces himself against the car frame.
She wants nothing more than to walk over there, grab him by the lapels of his vest, and take him far, far away from this nightmare, but she can't.
Her feet keep her rooted to the ground and even if she wanted, she knows he needs this. Inwardly she should be pleased, glad that if this is really Red John than this chapter of Jane's life will be over, the heavy burden of guilt and shame he carries with him constantly will be lifted. Yet when he lifts his head to look at her, the anguish so blatantly displayed on his face, she's not prepared for the stab to her chest or the emptiness she feels.
She tears his eyes away from him as he finally walks away from the car, only to tune into the last bit of the conversation between the officer and Cho,
"…and it's probably going to take a few days to confirm that the John Doe in the Chevy is indeed Red John…"
She has the faintest urge to bark out orders, demand to see the report from the preliminary investigation, have Van Pelt or Cho search the John Doe for any identification while Rigsby examines the body, but she realizes in a split second that this case is not in their jurisdiction, in fact there really is no case at all.
They're only here as a courtesy from the captain of the Davis PD, an old friend of Minelli's who knows about the significance of Red John to the Serious Crimes Unit of the CBI.
So instead, she just gives the officer a cursory glance and says, "It's him."
Then she turns her body towards Cho, not in the mood for pleasantries while the rookie stands gaping at her certainty, "nothing more for us here, round up the team. Capt. Lawson will keep us informed."
Cho nods and walks to get Rigsby and Van Pelt.
Lisbon takes a moment to gather herself, contemplating briefly whether she should actually walk over to the car and see this beast, this monster that has haunted those she loves, who has taken from her those she loved, but something stops her, a chill that runs through her as she realizes something else.
Her eyes scan the crime scene, trying to conceal the panic and dread she feels deep inside, but with every glance of emptiness, every scan of her eyes across the space around her, the feeling of anxiety grows, threatening to overtake her completely.
For it doesn't matter anymore whether she confirms to herself that Red John is dead, that it's really him in that wrecked car, because in trying to conceal her emotions, she lost track of Jane and now he's nowhere to be seen.
And although, Lisbon has secretly envisioned the demise of Red John for a long time, somehow she wishes she was dreaming now…
She wakes to a soft touch on her cheek and a crank in her neck.
When her eyes adjust to the darkness, Lisbon realizes she must have fallen asleep in her living room, after coming home.
The thought clears the cobwebs in her mind and the day's events replay in her head like a never ending and very unpleasant kaleidoscope of images, starting from her playful morning routine with Jane to getting the news of Red John's death to returning to CBI without Jane and ultimately leaving home because of exhaustion.
The thought of the consultant focuses her a bit more and she quickly recognizes that he's sitting right across from her on the coffee table, hand still cupping her cheek gently.
She rubs her eyes, surprised but secretly elated that he's here, and instinctively sits up to get closer to him.
His finger traces the apple of her cheek and she hears more than sees the heavy sigh that Jane expels,
"You've been crying," he states, and for the first time, Lisbon feels the soreness in her eyes and the uncomfortable way her skin stretches beneath tracks of dried tears as she tries to speak,
"No. I'm sorry for leaving so abruptly, I just-…I had to-…"
She feels his resolve weakening and the vice around her heart tightens. Her natural mothering instinct propels her forward until she slides onto the table next to him, arms wrapping around his shoulders instinctively,
"Hey, don't worry about it. I understand. You needed some time. It's okay."
She strokes his hair, feeling her anxiety slip away with every second that she holds him, with every second that he's besides her, perhaps a little broken, always a little damaged, but here, not somewhere else. It's sad but true that no matter how many times she's entertained all the possible scenarios of the aftermath, Lisbon always thought the end result would be the same-Jane leaving.
So when the blond gets up, tearing himself away from their embrace, alarm thickens in her chest, but it's only a moment, because pretty soon she feels herself lifted off the floor and all she can do is curl up into his embrace as Jane carries her upstairs.
Without speaking, he sets her on the foot of the bed and pulls out her favorite pajamas from the dresser, followed by a pair of pants for himself. Despite the confusion plaguing her, unanswered questions swirling in her head, Lisbon unbuttons her blouse and shrugs off her pants, watching as Jane calmly mirrors her action.
With every piece of armor he takes off, she feels a sense of uncertainty grow. Even though he seems to have an air of resolution about him, she knows it could be a mere front. She knows he must be reeling on the inside, can't imagine what this has done to him, though she selfishly hopes that he doesn't feel bad, just because the culmination of his revenge has been ripped from him.
It's an odd thought to have, but Lisbon hopes Jane aches for the right reasons.
They slide into bed but instead of it being awkward and stilted, their bodies find each other instinctively, limbs intertwined in a familiar position that should breed both calm and sleep.
However, even the steady beat of his heart against her ear won't let Lisbon drift away. She clings tightly to Jane, wrapping her leg around his waist in a vain attempt to keep him from slipping away during the night.
Not even the gentle motion of his hand on her hip can quell the rising anxiety.
And just as she's about to muster up enough courage to break the overdue silence, Jane beats her to it, his voice low and thick in the darkness, but soothing at the same time.
"I never had a plan for the "after", you know." He pauses for a moment, but Lisbon doesn't say anything, just lies more of her weight on him, a reassurance she's there.
"When Red John killed them, he killed me too, so the thought of a life after I sought my revenge seemed almost frivolous. Funny how things work out, huh?"
She thinks it's a rhetorical question, but as Jane weaves his fingers through her hair, Lisbon can't resist and looks up at him, searching vainly for an answer.
"I'm supposed to be clairvoyant, see what others can't, but I suppose it doesn't work like that for myself." He sees the confusion swimming in her jade stare and finds it somewhere in himself to muster up a half smile. It's testament to how much she uplifts him, how even through this mess, through this dénouement in his autobiography, this tiny pixie is still there, still spreading fire through his cold veins, feeding him life.
"You're my after, Teresa. You were my before too, but I'd been too blind to see it. I'm not now."
"I'm not going anywhere, Patrick."
"I know." He says and it's the first time Lisbon can sense at least a hint of true calm in his voice, "and I'm not either."
And just like that, with a simple, straight forward admission, Jane seems to dissipate at least a little of her worry.
She settles back down in his arms. This time she's powerless against the lullaby the rhythmic thumping of his heart provides as it lulls her to sleep.
She knows the road to recovery has just begun, but there's a strange sense of peace within her, and all she can think about is that Jane is here, he hasn't left, and everything else seems like less of a hurdle because of that...
"Don't ask me
what you know is true
don't have to tell you
I love your precious heart…"
The breeze wafting in through the open window of Jane's Citroën catches the loose end of the silk ribbon blindfolding her, and Lisbon can't contain the chuckle that escapes as the soft material tickles the side of her face.
Despite the imposed blindness, she can still feel Jane's eyes on her as the car weaves effortlessly through traffic.
He always does drive too quickly, she muses, before tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, feeling the wind dance across her face.
It's true what they say about your other senses being amplified when you're one short, so she's more attuned to the various sounds of the city: the speeding cars, the street chatter, the faint music in the background. She also feels the familiar weight of Jane's hand on her thigh.
It leaves her buzzing with anticipation but a little annoyed.
They're in LA for the weekend, an impromptu trip she only found out about Friday morning when Jane strolled into her office and announced where they were going and that she had about an hour to pack before they had to get on the road to beat traffic.
He wouldn't give up why he chose this particular weekend to get away, and she didn't probe him, but it is their three year anniversary and Lisbon knows that with Jane, there is no such thing as coincidence.
It's been three years since she kissed him, two years since Red John died, and about a year since Jane started calling her apartment theirs. It wasn't an official thing, still isn't, but he has his own drawer and closet space, and is quite adamant about having whole milk in the fridge for his morning tea, not "the watered down 2% stuff" she likes.
For being an independent woman most of her life and living pretty much alone since her brothers all became adults, Lisbon quite enjoys having a man around, particularly Jane.
She wasn't sure what would happen after Red John's death, but was only mildly surprised when Jane continued with the CBI, still working as a consultant even though his original motivation for staying with her team became obsolete one weekday morning when a driver lost control of his car and slammed into Red John's unmarked sedan, reminding those who tried to catch him so fruitlessly for years, that despite the wickedness of his actions and his seeming invincibility, Red John was never immortal.
And Lisbon has never been as glad about something as she is about that particular fact.
It not only gives her strength to face anything in her line of work, but also gives her a sense of renewed faith, perhaps a vindication of her belief in God.
It also reminds her of the progress the man besides her has made.
He never let Red John's death break him.
He found another purpose to survive, didn't allow himself to drown in the accidental failure of his master plan. He chose to live instead of wallowing in self pity and guilt and Lisbon somehow thinks she always knew he would.
The thought brings a smile to her face, which doesn't go unnoticed.
"What are you smiling about, hmm?"
She can hear the heart melting grin in his words.
"What's with the secrecy?" she quips back, a little miffed he's obviously taking immense pleasure in testing her controlling tendencies.
Jane chuckles almost to himself, "you'll see. Patience is a virtue, woman."
She scoffs in response, but Jane doesn't abate, instead he runs his hand up her thigh, reminding both of them that she's wearing a very short dress. Yet despite the slight shiver that involuntarily runs through her body from the warmth of his touch, Lisbon gently swats his hand away, mumbling something about him taking his own advice.
The blond laughs openly now, as he slows the Citroën into a parking spot and happily announces that they've arrived.
He doesn't remove the blindfold until they're inside the club.
The loud talking all around them along with the smell of alcohol leave her lightheaded as they move through the crowd, Jane guiding her with a hand on the small of her back.
After what seems like forever, they stop and Jane gently removes the blindfold to greet her with a smile and a gentle kiss as her eyes try to adjust to the dark lighting of the venue.
Lisbon looks around to find herself in the middle of a small dance floor, people standing all around them, indistinct but excited chatter vibrating with energy, as the bartenders keep themselves busy with orders on the other side of the room.
"Patrick, what are we doing here?" She asks her tone suspicious but her smile betraying the excitement she can't stave off.
He looks at her with amusement dancing in his cobalt gaze, but doesn't relinquish any information. Instead, he simply flags down a waitress and orders an extra dry gin martini with an olive, Lisbon's favorite drink.
She moves closer to him, leaning in to brush her lips against his jaw, enjoying the way he instinctively pulls her closer, a low hum of appreciation vibrating against her ear,
"Are you trying to get me drunk?" she whispers, peppering kisses along his cheek to finally settle on his lips for the briefest of moments.
Jane appears slightly stunned by her flirty comments, but Lisbon just laughs, taking secret pleasure in catching him off guard every once in a while.
There's nothing like a slightly bewildered Patrick Jane, it amuses her to no end.
Not to be outdone, Jane wraps his arm around her waist, his hand settling intimately on her hip, fingers tracing the material; touch igniting her skin through the silk of her dress.
"Maybe, I am." He whispers back, lips grazing her earlobe. It reminds her of another dance they shared, one that seemed to be the catalyst for all of this.
She's about to say something witty right back, mind in a pleasurable haze, but as soon as she opens her mouth, the dance floor goes dark, and the stage lights up.
Being an avid fan in high school and after, she immediately recognizes the band that graces the stage and her eyes instinctively dart to the man besides her, who stands with a self-satisfied grin on his face, avoiding her stare purposefully.
"Patrick," she nudges him when he doesn't respond, mind completely focused on him, rather than the band introducing their first song, the one that holds a special place in her heart.
"How did you-?" Her voice trails off as the enormity of this all finally catches up to her.
She can hardly comprehend this, let alone keep the smile off her face.
"I suppose something from my 'psychic' days paid off." Jane explains vaguely, already circling her waist in his arms and pulling her closer to the middle of the dance floor, "I did a few readings for their manager back in the day. The guy was into all that stuff, so I called in a favor, got some last minute tickets to their show."
"You never told me," Lisbon finally breathes, already swaying to the slow beat of their first song, as she looks into Jane's eyes.
She doesn't miss the satisfaction reflected in his blues, nor the love that it masks, or rather reveals.
Lisbon realizes the meaning of this particular song is so very true when it comes to Jane: he never needs words to tell her what he feels for her.
It's clearly reflected in his eyes.
"I guess I thought I'd need to keep that to myself for the future." He replies, smiling impishly as they begin swaying to the music.
She nudges him playfully again, but settles into a natural rhythm, head resting on his shoulder; the scent that's uniquely Jane overpowering all her senses and leaving her perhaps more intoxicated than the heady scent of smoke and gin in the air.
"There's one more thing," Jane says and Lisbon watches as he takes her hand, slipping something metal into it.
When she realizes what it is, she knows nothing will keep away the tears prickling in her eyes.
She looks up immediately, questioning him silently as his wedding band glimmers in her open palm.
"I want you to have it," he says, the first serious look of the night sobering his usually vibrant features.
"Patrick-…" she tries to protest, but it seems like his decision is final.
"You have my heart now; you should have all of me, without doubts."
"I don't, I never doubted you."
And it's true, she hasn't, and he knows that, because it's been way too long since he's seen her look forlornly at his wedding band when she thought he didn't notice, but this gesture is more for himself than for her.
He's finally letting go.
It's definitely overdue, but at least he's done it. And although there is a slight twinge of guilt that tugs at his heartstrings when he realizes he feels somehow lighter without the band around his finger, there's a more intense feeling of joy, desire, and something that strongly resembles love when he sees the smile he put on Lisbon's face.
The guilt invariably evaporates, leaving him with only that feeling of warmth, of home, of finally belonging, and all of that can only be attributed to one person.
So he carefully closes her fist and kisses her knuckles, before sliding her arm back around his neck, where it belongs, "happy anniversary, darling."
He adds, kissing her cheek softly, and pulls her closer against him, relishing in the feel of her supple and familiar body against his.
Lisbon wants to say so many things to him, thank him for everything he's done, not just tonight but through the years she's known him. She also has the sudden urge to tell him how much she loves him, how she doesn't need him to take off his wedding band and give it to her, to know that he feels the same.
Yet somehow Lisbon feels like words would cheapen the meaning and depth of what she has to say.
So instead she clutches to Jane, hands wrapped around his neck as she holds his promise in her fist; and, when she feels him shift closer to her, burying his nose in her hair and inhaling, she can't help the smile on her face or the surge of warmth that travels to her heart.
His gesture reminds her that despite everything that's happened, all the horrible things in his past and hers, right now Jane is just a man and she's just a woman.
And there's a beautiful love song playing in the background.
And they're dancing.
And anything beyond that is simply irrelevant.