Oh, yes, the damn disclaimer: seriosuly, do we really have to do it? Because, Jeez, if I'd own them, I'd not be here writing it, I'd be the writeer of a TV Shows and, well, we'd have the LIsbon romance for real...meanwhile, I just "write, draw, create, dream, hope and believe in Bruno, waiting for him to be blessed by the light of reason..." (No, this discalimer isn't mine, it belongs to one of the girls who wite Mentalist fiction on the italian site efpfiction, but don't tell me many of you don't share this vision...).


Red John was, finally, gone. It was over; he was done and dealt with.

Lisbon was wondering on her next plan of action, and she still could not fully believe it yet. It was over. It had been over too quickly, at least in her eyes. She thought she was going to have more time to think things over, to prepare for the various possible outcomes, she thought they were going to have more time than that, because she couldn't be selfish, not about that. When it came to Red John, it wasn't just about Jane, as much as the man wanted to believe it, and it wasn't about her as well. It was about all of them, her whole team. In various, different ways, Red John had plagued all their lives. He had killed the one they knew, he had build distrust, spreading fear and the shadow of suspicions. She and Jane had paid losing the people the care the most about, she Bosco, him his family, but the others had been hit in their spirit if not in the blood. It was an injury as bad as the ones the team leader and the consultant had on them.

She thought she was going to have more time to prepare herself for the inevitable separation, and that was bothered her the most. So, if one part of her was glad it was finally over, and couldn't believe it took the CBI almost a decade to take the serial killer, part of her was shattered for the events of two weeks prior.

Because, with Red John out of the picture, Patrick Jane no longer had a reason to stay at their side, to remain with her. She knew it, she had always knew it, and yet… yet, she had been that childish to believe that, one day, Red John would stop to kill, and Jane would remain with them for the rest of his existence, waiting for his nemesis to hit again. She thought she could save him, his soul, at least. She thought he could learn to live again, to trust himself again, with her and thanks to her.

But that is what she has been, childish, because once Red John had been put out of the game, once given his statement, he had took off, without even bothering to take his things from the desk, without bothering to say a thank you or a goodbye, a never see you again. Nothing, he had simply driven away. And he hadn't even taken his car, something that he knew was easy to find, and he didn't want to be find, not when the team and Lisbon had been able to hide things so well from him, not when they had prevented him from committing murder, as much as the supposed victim deserved it. And it didn't matter that Red John was now gone, the only thing Patrick Jane had ever cared for in his life was finding AND killing him slowly and torturously, and they had prevented him from doing so.

SHE had prevented him from fulfilling his vengeance, and he couldn't go past it, he couldn't stop resenting her. That's why he had left in a hurry, that's why he had left in the first place, that's why he hadn't communicated with them. The team knew it, Lisbon knew it, so they give him a bit of time, but, two weeks later, they started to worry. They thought that, in a week or so, after being left alone to think things straight, he'd cool off, and come back with his charming and bright smile, without saying a single word, and behaving like usual, like nothing happened, like everything was still the same. But two weeks later, he was still MIA, and they were starting to get worried. Closed in her office or alone at night in her bed in the dark, Lisbon spent her time on the verge of tears or hunted by nightmares of death and visions of Patrick Jane. She saw him driving off from a cliff. She saw him jumping into the sea. She saw blood coming from cuts on his wrists. She saw empty bottles of medicines. She even saw him overdosing on "plain" drugs…

So, when few days later Van Pelt told her that, through unofficial channels, she had been able to find out where Jane was hiding, she didn't reflected too much on her plan of actions, she simply took her purse and jacket and drive towards his location, hoping and praying with her cross in her fist to find him, if not for him, for her, to have peace of heart, to finally see on her own what was going on with him.

She wasn't thinking about Jane. She wasn't worried for him. Absolutely no, she was just doing it for and the team, because they were too worried for him. They absolutely didn't need him, and the only reason she still kept him around was to solve cases.

Maybe, she though as she knocked on his door, if she kept repeating it enough times, she'd end up really believing so, she'd stop thinking that the only reason she was there was because she needed to know that he was, in some twisted way, fine, and that she missed the way her heart missed a beat every time they were close, she'd come to believe that she wasn't doing it because of her feelings, strong feelings, she had for him, and because she thought her LOVE was requited, because she was, deep down, sure that he loved her back, that he'd give them a chance once the danger of losing her was just a far away memory.

So, as soon as he opened the door (and only because he knew that there was no way she was going to leave after having been knocking and ringing the doorbell for more than twenty long minutes without pause) and she was his annoyed and caustic expression, she did the only thing she could think of….

She slapped him the hardest she could and then stormed in without waiting for his invitation, while Jane was still in front of the sill open door, massaging, surprised and still unable to believe what had took place, his hurting and hot cheek.

"Hello Lisbon, I'm glad as well to see you again. Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking, what about you' would like to come in? Please, have a seat." He sarcastically told her, grumpy, as he joined her on the couch in the house by the beach of a long time friend.

Lisbon wasn't talking, wasn't even looking at him. She sat still, looking in front of herself, holding back tears of rage and relief. He knew it. He was seeing it, and for a while, for a very short while, he felt guilty, because it was his fault, because she was almost crying because of him, because yet again he hadn't maintained his promise to never hurt her…

It was short lived, though, because clenching his left fist, feeling the (heavy) weight of the golden band, he remembered. He hadn't maintained the promise he had made to Lisbon, but she had made sure he couldn't fulfill the silent one he had made at the funeral of his beloved. Whatever was happening, it was her fault and her fault only.

"Guestroom is the first one to the left of the corridor." He said leaving his spot on the couch, moving towards the kitchen, knowing too well what Lisbon was trying to say and to figure out in her silence "there's a storm coming, you better stay here for the night. I was already preparing dinner, but it would not be ready for a while. In the meantime, you should… get comfortable until you can. The wind is an evil beast around here."

Once he disappeared into the kitchen, Lisbon simply followed his orders, without questioning them or asking anything. She didn't have in heart to. Now she knew he was fine, at least, as fine as he may be. She was going to spend the night, and only because of the tempest, than, she'd be gone, and he'd never seen her ever again.

She didn't know where she was, and that scared her, sending a wave of panic and fear through her entire being, then, she remembered- driving to the house where Jane was hiding, storming into the place after slapping him, their silences, their rage, him sending her to sleep while waiting for dinner to be ready.

She awoke at the sound of heavy rain against the windows, with the disconcerting feeling that someone was watching her. She glanced out the window and could see the raindrops highlighted by the light above the front door. The room was nearly pitch-black, but she could feel someone else's presence.

"Patrick?" She didn't know she had felt the need to call him Patrick, she had just thought… it felt, somehow, right. For years they had been Lisbon and Jane, strictly on the book boss and troublemaker consultant, but now… With Red John gone, the only thing she wanted was to be there for him. She didn't care in which way they were going to be Patrick and Teresa; she just knew that she wanted it, as a friend or a lover.

Just because it was over with Red John, it didn't mean that whatever they had going on had to be done and dealt with as well.

"Hey. Sorry. Did I scare you?" she could feel him…maybe not blushing in his voice (even if she was quite sure he was), but, still… uncomfortable, uneasy? She just knew there was something off with him, and yet, right. He no longer seemed to be mad and enraged with her. Maybe not everything was forgiven yet, but it was still a step forward in the direction of rebuilding… whatever there was to rebuild between them.

As her eyes adjusted she saw him sitting across the room in the mahogany rocking chair. His hands were crossed over his chest and his head rested against the chair back. The smell of fresh garlic and baking bread wafted in from somewhere- sign that dinner was ready, had been from a while, probably.

"What are you doing here?" she murmured still half asleep.

"Mmm… that's a deep and interesting question, Lisbon, and can be read in more ways. Are you asking me what I am doing here, in this life, or are you asking me what I am doing here in this place, or, even, what I am doing here, in the same room you are staying in?"

He is laughing and making fun of me, and… he seems honest. That's a good thing.

"I was just admiring your sleep." He finally admitted, so low he didn't believe she could actually hear him.

"You were looking at me sleeping?" she commented, jolting awake and facing his silhouette in the dark.

"I came up to wake you for dinner, but you looked so peaceful. As you know, I don't really sleep, pretty much ever, so it's always nice to watch someone else. Well, actually, it has always been babies I was looking after during a case, but, still… Anyway, I know it's a bit creepy, but I hope you don't mind." Even if half-asleep, she hadn't missed the fact that he had used "don't" instead of "didn't". She wondered on this fact, asking herself if it meant he was going to look at her sleeping again, of it was something he was planning of doing….Don't go there, Teresa, don't go there. He obviously doesn't feel the same, or he'd be at your place right now, he'd be with you and not hiding from you!

"It's actually ironic, because I haven't slept in a couple of weeks. There must be something about being here…" Or maybe it's because you are here, and now I know you are fine. She really wanted to add the last part, but couldn't. She knew he wasn't ready for her… admission yet. One thing was telling him it wasn't a good idea distancing himself from them and that they cared, but telling him that SHE cared, making him understand that what she felt was deeper than that… "Not even my Bambien worked"

"Isn't it Ambien without the B?" she could imagine his eyes looking quizzically at her, lifted eyebrows and all. She was quite sorry she couldn't actually see it- Patrick Jane who doesn't understand something was a first.

"Bath plus Ambien is equal to Bambien. But even that didn't work this time."

He laughed and she felt a surge of happiness. She felt his happiness and she felt her own, with the improvise need to show him what she knew was going on with them, showing him what she felt, how much she had missed him and how much she needed him, and she needed to remember that he was there, in the flesh, alive and well and free- or maybe it was just a way to be bonded together for the rest of their lives, she wasn't sure, if she wanted to be honest, whatever she was doing it more for her than for him. She just knew that for the first time in her thirty-seven years of life, she did something without giving any thought whatsoever to any potential consequences or reactions. With a completely blank mind and absolutely no anxiety, not giving a damn about consequences and regulations, just wanted to feel his happiness, she climbed off the bed and walked over to the rocking chair. Not even standing above him made her nervous; she extended her hand and, when he accepted it without confusion on his face, like he'd know it was going to end this way since she had entered, she tugged him upward. She looked down at her hands instead of meeting his eyes, even if she had been the one initiating the contact, their fingers interlaced with his, a moment of intimacy that was undeniable, unmistakable. He unhooked their hands and put them behind her neck and entangled his fingers in her hair, and their lips pressed together and opened; Jane's tongue on her own was more surreal than strange or foreign, probably because she had thought of it like only a dream for so long. It wasn't sweet or slowly, though, which kind of disappointed her. She had always thought of their first kiss, like she had foreseen it, of something sweet and slow, uncertain. She had fantasized of it thinking of the verb melt, and not fight or dominance, but it was.

From the kiss everything moved quickly. They fell back onto the bed and within seconds they were naked. It was a violent, needy sex she had rarely experienced. Even though he played with her hair, cupped her face, kissed the tip of her nose, stroked her back, he didn't hesitate to pin her down almost roughly, hands over her head.

She didn't mind. This wasn't about making love. This was about being still there, about being free. If he wanted to explore her body, to try other approaches, he'd had time, IF he wanted. She wasn't even questioning if she wanted it in the first place, because she had always had this though, constant, in the back of her mind, this fantasy which no longer was a fantasy.

Once they were both satisfied, Jane pulled her close, still on top of the covers, and ran his fingers lightly across Teresa's shoulders until goose bumps rose along the backs of her arms. He asked if she was okay, did she feel all right, did she want some water? When she was quiet for a few minutes, he lifted her chin and kissed her with such softness she thought she might die, nothing like what they had experienced just minutes before.

They kissed like that for minutes, many minutes, lazily and languidly, and when Jane pressed his tongue across her lips, Lisbon had the sensation that she could disappear entirely into his mouth- the only thing she wanted was to belong to him, to be part of him. Neither lifted their head from the pillow; they turned and kissed, so warmly and softly until something snapped and the urgency became overwhelming; their teeth clashed and their nails dug and their hands again grabbed and pulled, and they were both doing the most ancient dance of the world.

Afterward she rested her head on his chest and through half-closed eyes peeked to see him awake, looking at her and playing with her hair, Not with curiosity but love and as he was trying to remember every detail. Eye contact during sex was supposed to be the ultimate intimacy, a glimpse into the soul and so on, and no matter how close she'd felt to the other men she had been with, meeting eyes had always felt forced or contrived, as though they'd both read the same article insisting lovemaking included eye contact. It always made her uncomfortable, took her out of the moment, but this was different. When Jane's eyes found hers it was hard to breathe; no one had ever looked at her like that before. It was out of a movie, and she felt like a movie star, no, not even that, she felt like the main female character out of those chick movies she'd deny to own with her soul.

It no longer mattered that she had a small rash on her belly from an allergic reaction to a new lotion or that Jane hadn't shaved in two weeks or showered in days, or that they were both red and sweaty and panting; they had become the two sexiest people on earth. They had, in a very real way, found each other, like they knew it was meant to be.

She was the one kissing him this time, smiling on his lips, while Jane was cupping her face with his hands, and then feeling her features while she kept her eyes closed.

At some point they fell asleep because when she opened her eyes the sky was beginning to lighten. She eased herself out from under the throw blanket Jane had pulled over them, and she tiptoed to the bathroom across the hall, waiting for the floods of regret, guilt, and self-flagellation.

What, no he is your consultant, he no longer trusts you, you don't trust him, he is still mourning his family, he doesn't know what to do with his life now that Red John is no more?

Nothing came as she looked at crossed arms at her reflection in the mirror, not out of curiosity but like she was challenging herself to think those thoughts.

Splashing water on her face, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and nearly fainted. Her chin and cheeks were raw, and patches were lightly bleeding from beard burn; her lips were swollen; the skin on her neck was splotched red with teeth marks; her hair was tangled in ratty knots; there were bruises on her inner thighs from where he'd pushed himself against her. Her head throbbed from hitting the headboard, her pelvic bone ached from grinding, and the sensitive skin between her legs felt like it had been sandpapered. Even her feet ached from curling her toes for so many hours.

Never before had she felt so awful, if by awful one really means absolutely fantastic. She returned to the guest room and found Jane sitting in bed, still naked under the blanket. Light from the bedside window illuminated his face, and Lisbon could now see the clock: 7:23 A.M. He looked up and, for the first time in hours, she was overcome with self-consciousness. She was standing there completely naked in the glow of full daylight before this man.

Had she really done this?

Yes

Did she regret it?

Absolutely not

"Li…Teresa?" he asked, fearing that her being lost in her reverie would mean she was actually regretting it, that whatever she had done to and with him had been out of pity and just to impose her power on him.

She didn't have to force herself to look directly at him. The room was cold and she could feel the hair on her legs beginning to prickle, but she didn't care.

"Teresa, sweetheart, come here." He lifted the edge of the blanket and motioned for her to join him.

She climbed in next to him, still reflective. Part of her enjoyed this, the fact that he somehow could no longer read her, even if it was wrong and insensitive on her side.

He wrapped his arms around her and pulled the covers over them both. He kissed her on the forehead like her mother used to when she was sick, before that terrible day 25 years prior

"You look like you're in the throes of a crushing panic attack," Jane whispered in her ear. He pulled her even tighter against him, but it was protective, not sexual, and she absolutely loved it.

That was what she craved from Patrick Jane, not the mind-blowing sex, even if she didn't mind that the sex with him was mind-blowing, but the affection and the love.

He can love. He can move on.

"I'm a filthy, disgusting, unworthy hypocrite, telling Van Pelt and Rigsby they can't have a relationship, and then ending here, in your bed, with you" she said with a mix of honesty and humor, but no shame. She couldn't regret this, the most amazing time of her life, wasn't going to.

She was still supremely pissed off, when Jane started to laugh.

She wrenched her body away from his and stared, dumbstruck. "Glad to know that you think it's amusing that I basically just ruined my career for you"

He hugged her tighter and rather than feel suffocated like she usually did, Teresa allowed herself to relax. Jane kissed her lips and forehead and each cheek before saying, "I'm only laughing because you remind me so much of myself."

"Oh, joy"

"But we didn't do anything wrong, sweetheart."

"Oh, yeah, because you're not my consultant, and I'm so not your boss, because relationships between members of the same unit are so allowed now, and I'm sure you are thinking about the fact that the only reason you've lived for in the last ten years or so is suddenly gone and you don't know what to do with your life, you don't consider the fact that you are still mourning your family, you don't consider the fact that you still keep the wedding ring…"

She emphasized the working together bit, but it wasn't until she'd listed everything that Lisbon admitted something to herself: She'd been waiting for Jane to tell her he was no longer obsessed with hate and revenge, that he was moving on with his life, ready to paint the smiley at his place and removed the ring, she wanted for him to tell her it was just because of her he lived now. She knew this was unlikely. But that hadn't stopped Teresa from hoping.

He pressed his finger to her lips and shushed her, which she was surprised to discover she found cute and not enraging. "What happened between us happened naturally. We both wanted it. What's wrong with that?"

"What's wrong with that?" she snapped, her voice taking on a mean, almost vicious tone. "What about what I told you? Did you listen to any of those things I told you?"

Jane rolled over onto an elbow so he was hovering above Lisbon and looked directly into her eyes. "I thought that a simple "we can't live without each other" could be a reason good enough to do what we were doing and keep doing it" he said scrolling his shoulders with complete nonchalance.

Lisbon turned her head towards Jane, realizing her eyes were still focused on his tanned, muscular (?) blonde-hairy chest.

It was confusing and, despite the situation, right, even if there was nothing right about having sex with the man she was supposed to be working with, even if it had been a horrible lapse in judgment, inexcusable even, and even if it would be a miracle if they all got through this unscathed, even if she could no longer boss Jane around... yet, it didn't just seemed or felt right. She knew it was.

"Don't leave. I need you. I know I'll need time to… fully forgive you, but I want you to know that… I don't resent you. I only… I don't know how to do it, hell" he started to laugh, and Lisbon could feel his laughter resonating through his chest into her "I don't know what to do. I've never though I'd found myself in this… predicament… Alive, Free… and… in desperate need… emotional and physical need… of… of someone else…Of you…"

"Then, I guess I'll have to teach you again the fundaments right from the start…"

She smiled again in the kiss, and decided that there was no way she was going to get enough of his wondering and curious hands and lips.