A/N: And here it is, the end (I'll be catching up on review replies starting tomorrow. I haven't had time this weekend). This chapter was supposed to be a short epilogue. Yeah, that didn't happen. Oh well. Thank you to everyone who reviewed along the way. Hope you enjoy the wrap-up!
Lisbon arrived at the CBI bright and early. She grinned to herself for no real reason as she walked by the still-empty bullpen. Her team would be arriving soon enough.
She wondered if any of them would question her decision to actually take all of yesterday off. She doubted they would. Her team weren't exactly the prying type; she'd certainly never encouraged that. Even if they might be curious about the change in behaviour from her usual.
Lisbon felt her grin widening as she stepped into her office. The change in behaviour had certainly been worth it.
After he'd appeared up on her doorstep, she and Jane had stayed up till long after midnight, curled up on her couch, drinking tea, and talking. Jane had seemed determined to hear every story of hers from the last few months, either that or tell his own (although there were more than a few times when conversation had been pushed to the back-burner in favour of communication that was a little more non-verbal). It'd been wonderful, but completely surreal. A part of her still couldn't quite believe he was back. Lisbon was pretty sure Jane couldn't quite believe it either. He certainly hadn't moved to end late-night story time, at least not until he'd noticed her eyelids start to droop. Lisbon remembered trying to protest that she wasn't tired, but he hadn't believed her.
She'd left him reluctantly at the door of her spare room. Not leaving him had certainly been a tempting idea, but given how surreal everything still felt... She hadn't wanted to jump into something too quickly, upset what still felt like a fairly delicate balance.
So she'd gotten into her own bed, alone, letting the knowledge that Jane, instead of being halfway across the state, was only one room over lull her to sleep.
She'd woken to the smell of coffee. Freshly made coffee. Close by. And that had just been the start of the day...
Lisbon opened her eyes blearily to find a mug sitting on her bedside table, still steaming. She must have just missed Jane when he snuck into her bedroom put it there.
Not normally much of a morning person, Lisbon couldn't resist a smile. Because Jane hadn't only left the coffee. There was a letter beside it, written on her own damn note paper.
She chuckled. Because honestly, what else would Jane have written her letter on?
Lisbon sat up, made herself comfortable against her pillows, took a sip of coffee, and began to read.
Good morning sleepyhead!
I hope you weren't expecting a sentimental greeting, dear, now that I've declared my love openly. Something about your eyes reminding me of limpid pools I could get lost in, or some such silliness. I will not be writing you lines and lines of saccharine nonsense, so you may as well get that idea out of your head right now. I like to think that our correspondence has standards, and they're higher than that. You do look adorable when you're asleep though, completely charming...
Anyway, I'm making you breakfast, downstairs, slaving away on your stove. For you, my dear. And can I just say, you're lucky that there's a fruit market open in the early morning less than a block from your condo, or there would have been no strawberries for you on your pancakes! Also, the state of kitchen wasn't as bad as you led me to believe last night, Lisbon. Not that I really thought it was. You're far too practical for that. I'm not saying there's a lot of variety, but your cupboards are hardly bare.
Back to my point though, I'm making you breakfast, but feel free to take your time. It is your day off after all. If you want to sleep in a little, that's fine. I can keep the pancakes warm in the oven. And I can always make you fresh coffee. (Although, if you stay upstairs too long, I may get bored or lonely and come and find you.)
I'm very glad you've decided to take the day off Lisbon. I planned it all out, before I went to bed, if you've no objections. You'll like it though. It's going to be a surprise, so I'm not going to tell you about it here, but trust me. Just trust me.
I'll tell you all about it when you come downstairs, when you're ready.
Till then, have a lovely time sleeping in...
Oh, it's no use. Would you like me to write you a love letter, Lisbon? The mood I'm in, it would take very little encouragement (or provocation, whichever you prefer). Really very little. Maybe you do, secretly, want someone to write you a very sentimental love letter. Just like you secretly want to have an excuse to dress up like a princess and have everyone fawn all over you... Now there's an idea. I'll have to think more on this. If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them.
You have no idea how much self control it's taking right now not to wake you up. I'd better stop writing and get back to your breakfast, before I do just that.
Lisbon realized she was grinning like an idiot again. She couldn't help it. Not after that letter. And not with Jane downstairs, making her breakfast.
Biting her lip, Lisbon considered the letter, then, before she could talk herself out of, she'd found a notepad and a pen and was scribbling down a reply. After all, with Jane making her such a lovely breakfast, it wouldn't do to go downstairs empty-handed.
I'm not writing a lengthy sentimental greeting whatever you say. So don't even think about it. I'd feel too ridiculous. You can do what you like in your letters. I'm afraid I'm going to be boring and sensible.
Wouldn't me telling you to write me a love letter somewhat defeat the purpose? I'm just saying, if you have to request a love letter, it seems to lose some of its appeal. Please tell me you weren't standing in my room watching me sleep though. That image isn't charming; it's a bit creepy.
I certainly don't need a love letter. They are a bit silly, you're right. And there is something a little bit absurd about you starting that start of thing now. We've been writing to each other for months, and we've known each other how long? Besides, you've already told me that you loved me (and then, like a child, all but forced me to fill in a questionnaire with respect to my own feelings on the subject, not that I mind you knowing them, not at all... but... oh, never mind). Are you really going to start adding an overly sentimental tone to our correspondence now?
Breakfast smells lovely, by the way. And the coffee was very good. I hope you slept well. I slept like the dead, I admit. I guess I did need that morning off.
I'm very glad that you stayed last night. I'm very glad that you're here. It's all so fast, and yet not at the same time. I can't explain it. The absolute last thing I was expecting when I got home last night was to find a letter from you tucked under my door, and then you on the other side. But it was such a nice surprise. Really.
There are so many things I forgot to ask you last night. Have you still been reading? Do you have any favourite sights in California from your travels? Will you go and see The Avengers with me? I want to see it. I'm sure I'm missing some, but I guess I don't have to think of them all now.
In fact, I guess I could walk downstairs and ask you. Maybe I will. Maybe I just want to see you. I can give you this letter at the same time.
Lisbon folded her letter with satisfaction. There. She could picture Jane's smile when she handed it to him, remembered the way his eyes used to twinkle over the shared secret whenever she slipped a letter into his jacket pocket. It wasn't something she'd been confident of ever seeing again, but she would, and soon...
She could hear the sounds of Jane clanging away in her kitchen. He really was making her breakfast. Lisbon took a deep breath, suddenly a little overwhelmed. He was really still there. Shaking her head to clear it, she got out of bed. She was not staying up here alone. She was not going to sit there and pick this apart and worry. Jane was here, he loved her, and she loved him. She was going to go downstairs, and have her pancakes, and kiss him, and...
Lisbon paused, glancing down at her somewhat unflattering sleepwear. She was sure her hair looked interesting too. She scowled. Jane would probably look perfect. Jerk. Okay, new plan. She'd have a shower first, then she'd go downstairs and see him.
Dressed casually in jeans and what she thought was a rather flattering v-necked red shirt, Lisbon walked into her kitchen a little while later. Jane's back was to her as he fiddled with a dial on her stove. Probably trying to make sure his pancakes didn't burn. Lisbon was trying to decide how to announce her presence, when Jane seemed to sense it. He turned quickly, smiling broadly the second he saw her.
Lisbon knew her answering smile was at least as big, but decided she didn't care. He looked really good, standing in her kitchen, wearing most of a three-piece suit (no jacket), with a dish towel tossed carelessly over one shoulder.
"Morning," was about all she had time to say, before Jane strode across the room and kissed her.
Lisbon was suddenly very glad she'd taken the time to shower and brush her teeth.
"Morning," he murmured, leaning his forehead against hers.
"Morning," she said again. "You were really serious about making me breakfast."
Jane frowned briefly, but it didn't last. "I wanted breakfast. With you. Did you doubt me?" he asked half-seriously.
Lisbon bit her lip, shaking her head. Then she reached into her pocket, removed her letter and with a knowing smile, slipped into his vest pocket.
"That's very cruel, you know," Jane murmured, watching her fingers in something near fascination, as she tucked the letter away from view.
"Hm?" Lisbon murmured.
"Making me choose between your letter and you," he explained. "I find myself torn between wanting to read your letter and wanting to have breakfast."
Lisbon laughed. "Well, I guess that's just a dilemma you'll have to solve on your own."
"Doesn't sound like much of a dilemma," Jane muttered, pulling her close. He kissed her again.
"Thought you said you wanted breakfast," Lisbon murmured against his lips.
"I want a lot of things," Jane growled, kissing her quickly, before breaking away with a soft groan. "But you're right, we should have breakfast," he told her, taking two large steps away. "Now that I've got it practically made."
Lisbon smirked, then rolled her eyes as he pulled out a chair for her at her own kitchen table. Still, she took the offered chair, and to Jane's obvious delight, let him serve her.
Her face lit up when she realized he'd made her chocolate-chip pancakes, something Jane teased her rather mercilessly about. The teasing lasted the entire meal, and beyond.
After helping tidy up her kitchen, Lisbon put herself in Jane's hands for the day. She hadn't had any specific plans anyway, so why not?
Jane, it turned out did. Even if he had just made them the night before after she'd gone to bed. He took her to an art gallery, where they wandered around, in no real hurry. Lisbon wasn't sure how Jane had guessed, but she'd never actually been there before, despite living in the city for over a decade. Then, they went for lunch, at one of the little places near the courthouse where they'd always used to. After that, Jane had threaded his arm in hers, and taken her for a walk in the park. She'd pulled him down under a tree, and though he'd complained half-heartedly about his suit, he'd gone willingly. Particularly when she'd leaned her head on his shoulder, and murmured something about taking a nap.
An hour or so later, they were heading off for tea at Jane's favourite tea place (where the owner had recognized Jane on sight, and in honour of his return given them free scones). The pair spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the city, popping in and out of shops, before an early dinner and the movies, where a grinning Jane informed her they were seeing The Avengers. (Lisbon assumed he'd read her letter while she'd napped in the park). He'd very reluctantly dropped her off at her apartment a few hours later (although not without an extended goodbye, thankfully this time, on the other side of her front door). Jane had assured her he had a motel room waiting for him (Lisbon suspected it'd been waiting the night before too, and had been unused after invitation to spend the night, but she didn't mention that).
She'd been highly tempted to ask him to stay a second time, but by unspoken agreement (and the same instinct that had kept Jane in the spare room the night before), he left before her resolve completely crumbled. It was all too new still, and unbelievably overwhelming.
Still, it was with a fair bit of regret that she'd watched him walk away.
The regret hadn't lasted very long though. Because she knew she'd be seeing him again soon.
Lisbon dropped her things off in her office and turned on her computer. As she took off her jacket, she noticed something poking out of the pocket.
Incredulously, she pulled out a letter. She had no idea when Jane had put it there. It must have been just before he'd left, because she'd have found it before now if it had been earlier. And she'd been reasonably distracted with his goodbye at that point, so that would explain it.
Lisbon smiled. Apparently, while she'd slept Jane had been busy in the park. It was the only time he could have possibly written the letter. She didn't bother wondering where he'd gotten the paper from.
You might decide to be sensible in your letters, but I can assure you, that you won't be boring. None of your letters have ever been boring. In fact, they're positively full of you, always. Your personality, your passion, your tenacity and your wit practically jumped off the page. If I tried very hard, I could almost picture you, almost pretend that you were with me. Almost.
I think I was probably at least half in love with you before we started corresponding. In fact, I was probably all the way there, without realizing it. But even if I hadn't been, if all I really had felt for you was friendship, I'd have fallen in love with you thanks to those letters alone. I told you once that you write a lovely letter, Teresa. And unlike everyone else, you didn't give up on me. My lovely, loyal Lisbon.
Normally, this would be the section of a letter where I protest my unworthiness, and curse myself for daring to even write to a goddess such as yourself, but I thought I'd skip that section. Neither of us would like it much, I don't think. I like writing to you too much to think that, and you told me that you like receiving the letters. So while you are a much better person than I am (don't scowl, Teresa, if we took a poll of our joint acquaintance you'd come out on top every time), I'm not going to apologize for writing to you.
By the way, yes, I am writing you a love letter, dearest. I thought I'd give it a try, see how it goes, and see how you like it. (Maybe try to get you to miss me a little while you're at the office, or at least keep me in your thoughts. After all, I figure if I'm going to do the whole traditional love letter route, I may as well do the thing well.)
You needn't feel any pressure to respond in kind. I just wanted to try it as an experiment. It's surprisingly easy Teresa. And I have to say, now seems like the perfect time to start this type of correspondence. What better time than after making a declaration openly? I couldn't very well start writing you love letters before I told you I was in love with you. I'm just saying. Practically, it wouldn't work.
Although, love letters are no place for practicality (perhaps I'm not writing a very good one after all – forgive me love, I'll get better). So instead of discussing practicalities, I'll go back to discussing you, the object of my affection. And you are the object of my affection. When I crept into your room yesterday morning to leave you your coffee, it was all I could do not to crawl in bed with you. And yes, I did take a minute to watch you sleep. No one could possibly blame me for that. You looked so peaceful, so soft, and delicate, and warm. I could picture it, me crawling into your bed, wrapping an arm around you, you turning, still mostly asleep and cuddling against me, murmuring sleepily. And I'd have been powerless not to touch you then, running my hand through your hair (you've lovely hair, by the way dear), along your back, pulling you closer, something that in my fantasy you certainly didn't object to.
Oh, I wanted that, dear. But I knew that if I carried out my little fantasy, there'd be no making you breakfast, and quite possibly none of the other things I had planned for the day. And I had promised you breakfast, and a lovely day out, and I wanted that too. I wouldn't trade our breakfast, dear. Not for anything. Not with the way you were smiling at me across your kitchen table, Teresa. You make me smile, you always have. There will be time for lazy mornings together later (I hope). There will be time for so many things, love. Anyway, you're cuddled up against me now, taking a nap in the park. It's just lucky that your head is on my left shoulder, not my right, or writing this would be impossible, not without disturbing you. And I don't want to do that.
You asked me about my favourite places to visit in California in your last letter. I don't want to tell you about them; I want to show you. We could go, together. On your days off of course. It would be so much better than simply telling you the stories, don't you think? I think I should tell you, I'm going to be trying to take up as much of your time as you'll let me, Teresa. I've half a mind to spoil you, while I'm at it. Just a little.
I suppose I should finish up. I've been at this for a while, and with mixed success. I haven't even included a lengthy description of the beauty of your eyes. They're lovely, dearest. I don't think I could describe them accurately, alas. I'll have to work on that too. And I plan to. I've half a mind to woo you. Just to see what you'd do.
Think of me dear,
P.S. So what did you think? Not bad right? But I still think I need a bit of practice. I'll work on it. Dinner later?
Lisbon stared at the sheet of paper in her hand incredulously, her heart beating a little too fast, not sure whether to laugh or... something else. He was actually insane. What a love letter. Half genuine emotion, half ridiculous narrative, and just, well, one hundred percent Jane.
Lisbon could still feel the blush on her cheeks and was rather glad that she was the first one in that morning. She, she... No one in the world could have written her that letter, no one else would have ever thought to. No one, other than Jane.
And she loved it.
Glancing around her office, Lisbon made up her mind, pulling out a piece of paper and a pen. She bit her lip. It'd been so long since she'd written a letter here. She'd been writing them on her couch for so long. It was strange and familiar all at the same time.
Just like Jane suddenly being back.
I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that this letter won't be full of pet names an d overly sentimental expressions. I won't be calling you pumpkin, or sweetums, or baby, or muffin, or anything like that. I'd feel far too absurd. And I'm not going to start extolling your many virtues in print form (this letter'd be awfully short if I did).
But I will tell you that I love you.
I realized through the letters too. I don't know how long it's been, but I realized a few months ago, I think. It took me a little longer to admit it to myself, of course. I'm a bit stubborn that way.
I was so worried about you, and always so glad to get your letters. Those often cheerful, often charming letters from my best friend. Of course, they weren't all wonderful, but I still wouldn't have traded them.
Your last letter was completely ridiculous by the way. But, I suppose I wouldn't mind if you wanted to practice writing love letters. I suppose that might be okay.
Just not all the time, okay? That would be strange. But maybe sometimes...
And of course dinner tonight. If I haven't heard from you before then, I'll call you. We can talk about our little trips around California.
I suppose I should get back to work now. But never fear, I imagine I probably will still think of you from time to time.
Lisbon did get back to work. There hadn't been anything all that pressing, which was lucky, since she knew she was a little distracted. Not so distracted that she couldn't work, but slightly. Her team hadn't mentioned anything, so she figured it wasn't too bad.
She was out in the bullpen, asking Van Pelt a question about one of her files, when all of a sudden the woman froze, mid-sentence.
Lisbon frowned in surprise, until she noticed out of the corner of her eye that Cho and Rigsby had stilled as well, and all three were staring at the doorway. Lisbon grinned, realizing what the distraction was. She spun around immediately. "I was wondering if we'd be seeing you today," she told a smug-looking Jane.
He answered her smile with one of his own. "Somehow I didn't think you'd be surprised when I showed up. Thought I'd drop by for a visit. Hi guys!" he greeted the team.
Cho was the first to react. "Hi Jane," he said. "Good to see you."
"Uh, yeah," Rigsby agreed with a grin, as he stood. "Hey man."
Van Pelt was out of her chair first. "It's really great to see you, Jane," she agreed, giving him a hug.
Lisbon stepped back, watching the four exchange hugs and other greetings as Jane tried to answer Van Pelt and Rigsby's flurry of questions. After a few seconds Lisbon realized Cho was standing beside her. She glanced up at him inquiringly.
"You knew Jane was back in town," Cho stated. It wasn't a question.
Lisbon smiled softly. "Yes," she admitted.
Cho nodded, "But you didn't say anything."
Lisbon shook her head. She didn't know why exactly. But she'd wanted to let Jane make that move. "I wanted to let him tell you he was back. Besides, I figured he might want to surprise you."
Cho acknowledged that with a slight smile. "Guess this explains why you've been so cheerful this morning."
Lisbon decided not to dignify that with a response, though she was sure she was blushing. She noticed Cho's smile get slightly wider. Ignoring him, Lisbon turned her attention back to the other three.
"We should grab dinner while you're in town," Rigsby was saying, slapping Jane on the back. "Catch up."
"Absolutely," Van Pelt agreed. "What're you doing tonight?"
Jane me Lisbon's eyes. "No firm plans," he admitted almost grudgingly.
"Hey, how long're you going to be in town anyway?" Rigsby asked.
Jane shrugged, still watching Lisbon. "Oh, indefinitely," he told the other man.
Rigsby's eyes shifted between Senior Agent and ex-consultant, but if he noticed anything different, he wisely decided not to comment.
Van Pelt smiled sweetly. "So, dinner tonight?" she pressed gently.
Jane turned towards her. "Certainly Grace, why don't you pick the restaurant?"
Van Pelt grinned. "I'll organize the reservation too and let you know. How..."
"Lisbon has the number," Jane assured her.
Van Pelt hesitated. "You've kept in touch then?" she asked, turning towards her boss.
Lisbon shrugged. "In a manner of speaking." She almost laughed when Van Pelt's eyes narrowed in confusion.
Jane wasn't even trying to hide his amusement. "Actually, I was wondering if you were free for lunch," he told Lisbon cheerfully.
Lisbon smiled. "I think I might be free."
"Guess we aren't invited," Rigsby muttered to Van Pelt, narrowly dodging the elbow she aimed at his side.
"Okay, well, we'll leave you guys to it then," Van Pelt said, effectively cutting off any further comments, for which Lisbon was grateful. She was sure the redhead had drawn the same (correct) conclusions that Cho had, but Lisbon wasn't going to worry about that. She turned her attention back to the conversation in front of her. "It was great to see you Jane," Van Pelt was saying sincerely. "You'll have to tell us what you've been up to over dinner tonight."
"Thank you, Grace," he murmured, before gesturing Lisbon towards the elevators. "Ready?" he asked.
She nodded, letting him guide her to the elevators. "I'll be back in a bit," she called to her team.
They'd barely left the bullpen when she heard Wainwright behind her. "Ah, Lisbon," he said.
To Lisbon's great amusement, her boss stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of her companion.
"Morning Luther," Jane greeted cheerfully.
After a second, Wainwright seemed to rally. "Patrick," he said, extending a hand for Jane to shake. "I wasn't expecting to see you here today. Are you..."
"Just heading out to lunch with an old friend," Jane told the other man, still cheerfully, as he shook Wainwright's hand.
"Oh, of course," Wainwright said, glancing at Lisbon. "I'm sorry to interrupt."
Lisbon shook her head slightly. "No problem. Did you need me?"
Wainwright paused, obviously trying to remember what he'd been about to ask her. "Just a quick question about the Mason case, but it can wait until after lunch."
Lisbon nodded. "I'll come see you when I get back."
"I'd appreciate that," Wainwright said awkwardly. "Well, I should let you two go. It's good to see you Patrick, particularly looking so well."
"Likewise," Jane assured him, with twinkling eyes.
Wainwright hesitated even more awkwardly. Luckily, the elevator arrived, enabling Lisbon and Jane to escape onto it. The second the doors closed, Lisbon burst into giggles.
"Well, I didn't stride up and ask him for a job," Jane murmured. "But was his face when he saw me all that you hoped it would be, Teresa?"
She nodded, obviously amused. "So, lunch, huh?" she asked. "Thought you were going to reacquaint yourself with the city today?"
He grinned. "I got bored. Besides, it's a good thing I stopped by, seeing as now having dinner with you will have to be postponed because of your team."
She smirked. "Oh, don't worry Patrick. I was planning on going to that."
He grinned in appreciation. "It's hardly the same, and you know it."
Lisbon shrugged, still amused, "You didn't have to accept the offer."
Jane didn't even consider that. Suggestion, "Any suggestions as to how on earth could I have possibly declined it?"
Lisbon shrugged. "I don't know, impolitely?"
He laughed. "I notice that you hadn't told your team that I was back in town."
"I figured you'd want to do that," Lisbon replied. "And don't even bother trying to pretend that you didn't enjoy that being a surprise."
Jane shook his head affectionately. "You've gotten to know me rather well, dear."
She smiled. "I know," she told him, enjoying the way his eyes lit up when she slipped the letter she'd written earlier into his jacket pocket.
"Did you like your letter this morning?" he murmured, invading her personal space a little more.
Lisbon laughed, feeling a blush rise to her cheeks.
Jane chuckled delightedly. "You did! I thought you might," he murmured. "I'll get better at them, I promise."
"Hmm," Lisbon hummed, not entirely sure what to say in response. A denial would certainly be futile (and not something she was sure she wanted to do anyway). "Just take me to lunch, Jane."
"Certainly," Jane agreed, taking her arm, and leading her out of the building.
Lisbon ignored the mixture of curious and incredulous stares from the security guards. She didn't care what they thought. Right now she wasn't even going to worry about whether or not he'd ever feel up to coming back to the CBI, or if he did, if he'd ever want to. Because he was here, in Sacramento. And he was staying. She had Jane, she had his letters, and he was taking her to lunch.
Right now that was more than enough. They'd figure out the rest as they went along.
Turning towards him, Lisbon realized something. "Hey Jane, are you planning on telling me where you're taking me?"
Jane opened the passenger side door of his car. "Nope!" he said cheerfully.
Lisbon shook her head as he walked around to the driver's side. The man was absolutely infuriating. He was lucky she loved him, otherwise the odd punch in the nose really wouldn't be uncalled for.
Ah well, Lisbon thought, smiling to herself as she settled back against the seat. She'd just tell him so in her next letter. He'd enjoy that.
A/N: And as always, I'm still taking any last requests for scenes that people want to see from Jane's POV. I haven't started any of them yet, so if you have any, now's the time to tell me.