Disclaimer: We're at the end...finally but I still don't own it.
A/N: Update: College is going well. Life is pretty okay. I'm going canoeing this weekend with my best friend and a bunch of other people from the University. Hopefully he won't tip me, if he does, I will so kick his ass.
Thank you to every single person who has reviewed this...and Melt. This is the final chapter in my two part story, and hopefully everyone is somewhat satisfied. I wanted to leave it open to interpretation but still tie up a few things. Enjoy.
Things had been a slight bit awkward on the drive back to Sacramento. With injuries impairing her ability to think and function, Lisbon had let Jane drive them. She'd let him set the pace and she'd just sat quietly in the passenger seat, eventually falling asleep. Although as soon as there was a slight difference in the texture of the road, she'd been awake and groaning from the jostling motion. It felt surreal almost, that Red John was captured. The serial killer would be going to jail and Jane was a free man and she was still with him. Despite having every reason and then some to up and leave, she stuck it out. It made sense she supposed, they'd started their relationship under questionable circumstances so it only seemed right to her that she stick it out. Had he hurt her? Hell yes. Had he done awful things that she would have a hard time forgetting? Yes. But they were both alive. Bruised a little, battered too whether it be physically or emotionally it was something that would take some time to heal. It wouldn't fix itself overnight but Lisbon could hope that it'd least be a brighter day than the last few. Everything took time.
Just like the time it took for them to arrive back at her apartment. In that lapse, hundreds of thoughts had flooded through both of their minds. Thousands maybe and most of them revolved around each other. Where they'd go from here, what they'd do now that Red John was caught. Just to be sure that there was no margin for error, Jane had given Lisbon his phone and had her call Cho periodically throughout the trip home to check that everything was still going smoothly. The worry wasn't misplaced but now that the car was parked and their bags dropped by the front door, it didn't seem as much of a priority. Cho would call if anything happened. The heap of luggage they'd left next to the door was deemed unimportant the moment they stepped inside. Neither wanted, nor had the energy to unpack. Running on minimal sleep had caught up to the both of them and Lisbon was just in too much pain. Her shoulder was stiff and hurting something awful and that wasn't even the worst of it. No doubt in her mind that their closet romp had worsened the throbbing in almost every limb, Lisbon finally broke down and took something for the cause of the tears in her eyes. She hadn't wanted to rely on pain medication to get her through this unfortunate event but with a few days leave coming her way, she'd gladly deal with the way it made her brain fuzzy. It wouldn't be impairing her work, just her home life which was different. It would help her sleep and she was all about sleep at this point. Exhaustion was hitting her hard and making everything seem like it took way too much energy.
It was the stairs that stopped her from reaching her destination. Those pesky things that undoubtedly were put there just to cause her problems when she was injured. For several seconds she just stood there, staring at them as if glaring would somehow take care of everything.
"Here, let me help you." She wanted to shrug off the offer, maybe snap at him for good measure but she was too tired. Instead, she let him wrap his arm around her waist thinking he'd just be her leaning post but she was wrong. He swept her up like a feather, carrying her bridal style up the stairs and as she stared up at him, she could see that he was doing his best to make things up to her. He was getting brownie points for trying but she guaranteed nothing until she'd slept for more than an hour or so at a time.
To say 'thank you' she pressed her lips to the underside of his chin as he gently laid her down on the bed. She normally wasn't one for being coddled but in a case such as this one, she'd let it slide. It was showing her that he truly was sorry for all that he'd done. The look in his eyes conveyed that much and she hoped hers showed him that they'd eventually be okay again. They were strong. They had to be.
"I'll get you something more comfortable to sleep in." With a small nod, she let him go. He wasn't going far, just to the dresser and she watched the entire time. He'd be lucky if she let him out of her sight ever again. It took him literally seconds to find a shirt that was big enough to be comfy for her. She was in the process of slowly removing her shirt when he made it back to her side. At least wearing something that buttoned down made it easier on her dislocated shoulder but it was still numb which left her fumbling with the buttons.
Jane didn't offer to help with that one, she knew he could tell by the look on her face that she wanted to do it by herself and he let her. That's what she loved about him, he let her remain independent. She loved many things about the man, she hated many more but that's what love is. Taking the good with the bad and she knew from the start that Jane had a lot of the bad.
He waited patiently as she finally shrugged the shirt from her body, wincing a bit and then moving on to kick off her pants. That task was easier, still painful due to her hip and swollen ankle but definitely more bearable than her shirt had been. One look at the shirt he was holding and she almost cringed. She didn't know how he planned to get that over her arm but he seemed to have already thought of everything. He reached for her bruised and swollen arm, the blackening of her shoulder now defined, and very carefully eased it into the opening. The thin material stretched enough to give plenty of room for the wounded limb and there was minimal pain. Silently thanking him for being so wary, she let him finish by then placing the shirt over her head while she shoved her other arm into place. He tugged the fabric down so it covered her and then went about getting himself ready.
Under different circumstances she'd tease about the show she was getting as he unbuttoned his pants and let them drop but it wasn't the time to make witty remarks. It was time to sleep, time to talk, but not time for jokes. Once down to just his boxer-briefs, he joined her on their bed. He kept his distance, staying on his side and staring up at the ceiling. It was too warm for blankets so neither bothered with them, they just continued to bask in the silence. The same silence that'd been cast over them from the moment they left the precinct in Nevada. Words had been few and far between ever since, and it was hard for either of them to break the bubble they'd found themselves in.
"Is it really over?" The crack in Jane's voice is what made Lisbon answer. She could tell that he was finally realizing something she'd known the moment they'd left.
"Yeah, Patrick it's over. We got him, he's not going anywhere." He reached for her then, rolling on his side and curling around her body. It felt like it'd been such a long time since they'd lain in such a way. She shifted around to get a little more comfortable – though she wasn't sure it was possible – and let her uninjured leg tangle between his. The feel of his warmth was enough to make her forget for a few moments the bad things that could have ripped them to shreds and when he nuzzled her cheek, she turned to give him a lazy kiss. She was fading fast, almost asleep but there were some things that needed to be said.
"Don't ever do anything like that to me ever again, okay?" Lisbon knew that she wouldn't have to explain anymore than that. He'd know what she meant and that was good because her brain was beginning to jumble thoughts.
"Are you sure about that?"
"Of course I'm sure. I want this." Letting her eyes close, she mewled softly when his fingers traced along the bandage on her neck. "I want you. I'm not going to risk losing you again."
"I just need you to know that I won't hang around a second time."
"I know." She wouldn't either. If he ever did something so stupid and incredibly hurtful ever again, she was gone. She couldn't handle it. She couldn't deal with him thinking that it was all her fault. "We need to change this."
Confused at first by his words, she quickly came to realize what he meant and just groaned. She was not about to get up, go downstairs, find the first aid crap given to her and proceed to change the bandage on her neck. It could wait a little bit.
"Sleep. We need to sleep."
"I agree." Carefully snuggling into his warmth, Lisbon sighed in content and let her hand rest against his chest. "We did it, Teresa. We stopped him...I can't believe we..."
"Shhh, sleep. We can talk when we wake up, just rest now. Everything is okay and everybody is safe. Just rest." Easing into the relaxing position they both let their thoughts accompany them on their trip into the land of slumber. Both thinking of where they'd been, how far they'd come and whether or not this was the end of the Red John madness. In all truth, there was a chance he could always somehow get out, escape again or something but neither of them let such a thought plague them too much. They were home, in their apartment together, surrounded by their stuff and nothing was going to ruin that feeling. They were living together, they were in love, and despite it being a rough patch in the relationship they were happy to be in each other's arms when it all came down to it.
a/n: Short happy end? I think yes. I've been on an updating spree lately, in case you haven't noticed. And I'm quite excited to mark this off my list. COMPLETE! United is next on the update list, I'm going to try to finish it up tomorrow, either during or between classes.