Disclaimer: No, I don't own anything.
A/N: Sooooo, this is it, folks, final chapter here! I feel sad, you know, to let it go but well it is time. I've truly enjoyed writing this chapter because the first thing I imagined about this story was actually the last scene. I don't know if I had made it justice but I am quite happy with the result.
Thank you very much for your support since the beginning, to those reviewers I could reply and those I could not, too. It's been a huge encouragement for me and it kept me publishing. A big Bravo to everyone!
I hope you all like this last installment, please tell me what you think.
The first thing Jane did upon arriving to Sacramento, was to go to his apartment and take a long, warm shower. He had not realised he was actually afraid of finding out about Lisbon until he reached the city, and he found himself postponing the meeting. Anyway, after a such long drive, he decided it was best if he looked presentable to her.
He was buttoning his shirt on, in front of the mirror in his bedroom, when the ring caught his eye. He had been feeling the weight on his finger ever since leaving the cemetery that morning. The talk to his wife and daughter had liberated him somehow. He knew nothing on the outside had changed. It was just his soul that was finally free. Free to be human, to let himself feel again.
Jane slowly slipped the ring off his finger and let it rest on the dresser. He spent a few seconds looking at the piece of jewellery. He had worn it for years as a symbol of love and respect, and now it was on the same terms that he took it off.
He wondered if Lisbon was still in hospital. He considered calling someone from his team but he did not want to alert them yet that he was back in Sacramento. He knew he owed Lisbon a visit before anyone else.
He decided to try there first, but when he asked for Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon, he was told the hospital staff were not allowed to disclose information on their patients. Of course, it took only minutes to use his charm on a chatty receptionist and learn that Teresa had been sent home the day before, as she had had an excellent recovery.
Just a few minutes later, he found himself walking up the steps to Lisbon's front door. He ran his hand through his curls, anxiousness overwhelming him, and finally gathered all the bravery he could to press the bell button.
Lisbon was clicking on the remote control, flicking through the mute TV channels, but not paying a real attention to the screen.
She had not been given the all clear to start working yet, forcing her to stay at home for several days, but she was thinking about asking Hightower to let her get back against her doctor's orders, even if it was only for office duty. After just two days, she was terribly bored and felt like being home would drive her crazy. But a part of her was also terrified of going back to work and seeing the empty leather couch in the bullpen. It would be the first time in years that he did not bother her and that was really what bothered her. She knew the work would be smoother, but she didn't like smooth. She liked exciting, she liked it challenging. She liked it complicated.
She liked it if Jane was in it.
The living room was in semi-darkness and she felt herself drifting to sleep. She thought of calling it a night and going to bed, but she knew that once in it, sleep wouldn't come quickly. The night before had been full of tossing and turning. She would blame it on the pain on her ribcage, but it didn't really hurt anymore. Her real pain was deeper than that.
The bell door rang, and Lisbon wondered who could be at that time of the evening. She switched the TV off. She got up and went to the door, looking at the clock in her open plan kitchen. Ten past eleven. She slowly opened the door softly up to where the safety chain let her. Her knees almost gave way when she saw the face at the other side.
Patrick was looking at her with sad eyes, and his heavy breathing showed his anxiousness. He did not say anything. He did not really know what to say.
She was shocked, and relieved at the same time, to see him well and there, but there was also anger somewhere in her feelings and she couldn't bring herself to just say a hello or just a hey.
It seemed like minutes before Jane managed to open his mouth and ask. "May I... may I come in?".
She seemed to consider it for a few seconds, before she closed the door and unlocked the chain. The door opened fully this time, and Jane spent a second taking on her figure. Her face was almost back to normal; just a tiny scar under the eye reminded him of the angry bruise that had been there one week before. Her wrists, showing from under the sleeves of yet another large jersey, were still marred with scars and some rests of scabs. And he couldn't see her ribs but she seemed to stand steadily on her feet and was apparently moving without any difficulties, so he thought she might be all right. In spite of the tense atmosphere that had settled around them, he was relieved to see there didn't seem to be any lasting effects of her ordeal.
She let the door open and went inside to her living room. He understood it was her silent and probably irated way of saying he could come in, so he entered and closed the door behind him.
When he reached the living room, she had taken position standing in the middle of the room and she was crossing her arms awkwardly, like defending herself from the harm he caused her. He stopped at a safe distance and pondered his words before he spoke. He couldn't quite make out her face from that distance, as the room was only lit by a faint light of a small floor lamp, but it was safer to there for now. He tried to find of something casual to start the conversation.
"I've been to the hospital before but they tell me you were released yesterday".
"Yes. You would have known that, if you had called before coming".
Ok, so it's not going to be an easy conversation, whatever I say, Jane thought. So he decided to start the serious talking instead of just stalling. They were not going anywhere with small talk.
"Sometimes the phone is not the best means of communication", he defended himself. "There are some things that had to be said in front of each other".
"That's true. But it would have been nice to know at least that you were alright, Jane".
"That I won't deny. By the way, how... how are you?".
She thought of giving him another sarcastic answer, but a part of her was frightened of him tiring too soon of the conversation, and she did not want him to leave, so she bit her tongue and replied.
"I'm OK. The wounds were less serious than they looked".
"I'm glad to hear... they looked painful".
"Yeah... hell that was a lot of pain... but the doctors made me sleep and it was better... until I woke up".
He knew what she meant. She didn't want to talk about her physical wounds, but about the ones they didn't see.
"Lisbon... Teresa, I am sorry. I truly am".
"Where the hell did you go, Jane?", she raised her voice. "A WEEK! Do you know how many thoughts have crossed my mind during this week? All I knew was that you had left without even saying goodbye, that you had told Van Pelt you were a failure and that you had your phone off! Can you imagine how many times I have tried to convince myself this week that you hadn't thrown yourself down a bridge or something like that?".
He should have known. He should have known that he would cause her pain even when he was away.
"And then," she continued, "Hightower said you had left willingly and that we couldn't search for you. Maybe she knew you were probably just taking a nice 'Red-John-Is-Dead' kind of holiday", she pronounced the last sentence with clear disgust on her face. "I guess the boss knows you better than I do".
"No, you're wrong. She doesn't know me better than you, no one does". He said. Lisbon snorted, but she saw honesty in his eyes, and she said nothing. He went on. "You were the one who knew positively I would come back. You have been the only one that has really tried to contact me during the week. And believe me, I've spent a full hour at my apartment reading your texts and didn't even read half of them. You did not get tired. You didn't give up on me".
"I did", she looked down to the floor and shifted her feet uncomfortably. "When I left the hospital yesterday, I stopped calling".
"You had to stop sometime. But it took you six days to do it. That's a record". He smiled timidly and Lisbon raised her face to look at him. His smile was real, not a fake big grin; something softer and truer. She could not help curling her lip upwards just the tiniest bit, but it was enough for him. For the first time since he had been back into her home, he felt like they were doing some progress. So he took just a couple of steps closer. He was still far enough to reach and touch her, but at least he could really see her face now in the dimly lit room. She looked really tired. I've done this to her, he thought.
Jane felt like it was time to be even more sincere to her now, and he felt the blood starting to rush at a quicker pace, and his heart rate raising slightly.
"Teresa, I... I know I have been foolish. I know I am probably the most stubborn man in the universe and I always commit the same mistakes, but during the past week I have done a lot of thinking. I needed time to be alone and consider the past... and the future".
Lisbon didn't understand where he was going and didn't interrupt him, but looked at him questioningly. What was he trying to tell her?
Then her eyes caught on his left hand. She was so used to see the golden ring on his finger that it was the lack of it that captured her attention. She suddenly understood... the past and the future... she knew what he wanted to express and her breath hitched on her throat. She feared she might be wrong but she hoped... he feels the same. She just hoped she was right.
Jane took a few steps forward again, until he was right in front of Lisbon. He was actually invading her personal space now, she thought, but she felt surprisingly calm now, maybe because that's where she wanted him to be.
"By the way, this is yours", he said and raised his hands behind his head to unclutch the chain around his neck. The collar of his shirt had prevented her from seeing her golden pendant hanging on his chest, and the emotion at recovering it left her on the verge of tears.
"Jane it's... it's my mom's cross", the smile reaching her eyes despite her tears. She offered the palm of her hand to receive her dear pendant. Teresa looked at him emotionally and whispered a thank you, while she tried to secure the clutch around her neck. Jane signalled her to turn around so he could help her and she complied, using both hands to raise her raven locks to allow him a better access. His fingers caressed the skin below the back of her neck a little longer than necessary, gaining him a sigh from her lips, before she turned back to look at him and let her hair down.
He looked into her eyes, and she was surprised to see them turning darker, filled with something she could only describe as longing.
Then he could not hold himself back any longer and whispered. "I can't bear to be far from you, Teresa".
She released a breath she did not know she was holding.
They held each other's stares until Lisbon felt her eyes were on the verge of tears. Jane leaned forward until his forehead touched hers, and raised his right hand to caress her cheek. Lisbon leaned immediately towards his touch and sighed. She had always believed she would talk to him about her feelings, but now, when the time had come, she realised she did not need to talk. They communicated silently, through touch, through looks.
Jane gently rubbed his nose against hers. Their breaths mingled and he teased the corner of her mouth with a feather-light kiss. Lisbon felt her knees slightly buckling beneath her and tied her arms around him to hold herself. He smiled softly while tying his right arm around her waist, still rubbing his thumb against her cheek.
They didn't know if they spent just seconds or full minutes like that, enjoying each other's warmth and silently telling how deep their feelings for each other ran beneath their skins; but then, Lisbon could not keep herself quiet any longer and spoke in a whisper.
"I missed you so much... but I knew you would come back to me".
"And I knew you would guide me home". And with that, he closed the tiny gap that still separated them and kissed her.
They kissed softly, but hungrily. It was passionate, but tender at the same time. They poured all the love, frustration and relief into the kiss. They kissed like two people who had been thirsty for a long time and had found an oasis. They kissed as if it were their last kiss, but they knew this was in fact a new beginning.
They did not spare much time until Lisbon took Jane's hand and led the way up the stairs to her bedroom. They both felt the kind of excitement people only feel on their first time, but it was combined with the confidence provided by the years, and by the certainty of sharing the experience with their loved one.
They undressed each other slowly, taking pleasure in each other's moans and sights, exploring through kisses and caresses the newly exposed skin, and whispering promises into each other's ears.
Somewhere far outside, the siren of a police car sounded. The voices of drunken youngsters raised above the traffic. But inside that room they heard nothing of that. They only heard how all the physical and emotional barriers were crushed down, as the two lovers surrendered to years of pent up passion and love.
When later they lay, tangled in each other's limbs, their bodies sated and naked, they felt like they had both, finally, found their home.
Patrick Jane woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. He raised to a sitting position and looked to the right to see his sleeping companion's bare back illuminated by the moonlight. She was lying on her stomach, her arms around the pillow and her face towards him, while her hair was spread over her left shoulder. She looked as peaceful as he had ever seen her and he felt a sudden surge of manly pride as he recalled the look of utter extasis on her face just a few hours before. He guessed not many of Teresa's scarce lovers had managed to made her reach that level of satisfaction before, and he could not help but smile at the thought. He gently caressed her spine, from her neck and all the way down to the small of her back, until his fingers reached the sheet that covered them both from the hip down.
Lisbon shivered under his touch and he felt a rush of desire, but he let her rest, and thought of the cause of him waking up at such early hour of the morning, when the night still blanketed Sacramento.
The nightmares had marred his nights during his stay at the Malibu estate, and tonight, though fainter, they had come back.
"Honey, what's up?", he heard Lisbon's sleepy voice as she stirred from her sleep. The endearment made Jane smile softly. He could get used to that.
"Nothing, everything's fine, go back to sleep". He said. He did not want to bother her. She needed the rest.
However his voice sounded clear and she supposed he had been awake for a while now. Lisbon rubbed her eyes to get used to the dim light that came from the window, and turned around, like him, to adopt a sitting position. She lay her chest on his naked back and circled her arms around to trace shapeless patterns over his stomach with the tips of her fingers. She kissed the back of his right shoulder before laying her cheek on it.
"I know something's bothering you... I won't be able to sleep until you tell me, Patrick".
He sighed. "I... I had a nightmare... about that night. I don't really want to talk about it".
Teresa did not need to know, actually. She had also suffered nightmares about it for a few nights now, but she knew him, and guessed the nature of his nightmares was probably torturing him even more than they did to her.
"Hey", she said, bringing her left hand to run through his curls, massaging his scalp to help him relax. Patrick turned his head slightly to look at her and she raised her face from his shoulder to return the look and smile. "It was just a nightmare... I am here, remember? He is not coming back and I'm not going anywhere". He looked intensely into her eyes and nodded slightly.
She offered him a bigger, but somehow shy smile, and brought her face closer to his, to kiss his lips softly. He returned the kiss with the same softness. It was not a moment of passion, but of intimacy.
"Now let's go back to sleep, alright?".
"OK", he said. Teresa let him lie down on his back before settling herself snuggled against him, her hand on his chest, while Patrick held her tightly, circling her with both arms.
He kissed her hair and breathed the sweet scent it exuded. It calmed him down.
She delighted in the warmth his body provided and snuggled further, pressing her face into his neck and kissing it.
"Good night, Patrick", she said, closing her eyes.
"Good night, my love", he said, doing likewise.
And no more nightmares haunted them.
- THE END -
A/N: *cries softly* I'm really going to miss writing this :) Was it too cheesy? Meh, I guess so but who cares :P