Chapter 1

"We the jury find the defendant Patrick Jane not guilty on all counts".

He let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding, and turned to look at them. The guys were all there, smiling at him. Only Teresa – his wife – was missing.

Fair enough. He had just been hoping against hope that she'd forgive him. A fool's hope, and he knew that. As he stepped outside the court he wondered what he should do. He couldn't go home, that was clear.

The thought of his baby – he didn't even know if it was a boy or a girl, yet he reckoned it would be more or less two weeks old by now – suddenly brought a lump to his throat.

Teresa would never allow him to see their baby.

He turned when he felt a friendly hand on his shoulder.

"Hi, guys", he greeted them – fake cheerfulness in his voice.

"You were great, Jane. The jury was deeply moved while listening to your final plea".

"Yeah… thank you, Grace".

None of them dared to ask how he felt now that he had finally gotten his revenge. Even if Red John was out of picture at last, they all knew what that was going to cost their friend.

"You can come to my place while you seek for a better accommodation", Cho offered.

Something that could be easily mistaken for a smile touched his lips for a moment.

"Thanks. I really appreciate it".

He silently followed Cho to his car. Neither of them said a single word until they reached the agent's apartment.

It was only when he was finally sitting on the slightly worn out couch that he gathered the courage to blurt out the question which most haunted him.

"How's Teresa?"

Cho crossed his arms and took a moment before answering him. Not a good sign at all.

"She's still trying to cope with the fact that you disappeared without notice while she was five months pregnant with you child. Not to mention the fact that you chose your quest for revenge over your new family".

Trust Cho for being straightforward. Jane sighed, carefully avoiding his gaze.

"What about the baby?"

"She was born nearly three weeks ago, a couple of days before she was due. She's beautiful".

"It's a girl, then".

"Yeah. Teresa called her Beth".

Tears welled up in his eyes. He had a daughter now, and he wasn't even going to meet her.

Seeing him like this made Cho go as far as sitting down next to him and asking him a question he actually hadn't meant to.

"Jane, why did you do that? You knew that she'd never forgive you. Why couldn't you just be happy with her and your child?"

"I had to", Jane simply stated – his voice low with quiet desperation.