0I. Prologue

He stared at the ceiling, drifting in and out of consciousness as he counted backwards from one thousand, one of Bach's symphonies was playing on the cheap alarm clock/radio near the hotel bed. He tried to focus on the knock-off Monet that was hung on the wall across from his bed. But the drugs he had taken were causing the whole entire room to spin around, and the painting was just an ugly smear of grey colors.

He closed his eyes and clutched the burgundy Gideon's Bible to his chest. He had been repeating Father forgive me for I have sinned over and over again since he had unscrewed the caps on the pill bottles. He knew that reverting back to his childhood faith wouldn't do him any good; his transgressions were far too great for religion to save him now. Still the prayer gave him a little comfort.

For a fleeting moment his thoughts turned to Rosalind Harker, the woman that he loved. . . the woman that had loved him in return. He was worried about her, he knew that when his body was found, and the police was called, she would be under fire. It was the last thing that he wanted for her, but it was just one of the many consequences to his actions.

Beautiful, sweet Rosie. . . forgive me for I have sinned he thought as the Bible fell from his gasp and went crashing to the floor.

He hoped that one day when she knew who he was – what he was – that she would understand that this was the only way. . . the only way that he would be able to get to his archenemy once and for all.

His death would be Patrick Jane's downfall.

.

i. "Did you do it, Jane?" Lisbon asked, looking at him seriously. "Did you really kill Roy Tagliaferro?"

Jane waited a beat before answering her, drumming his fingers on the table, before leaning in and meeting her steady gaze. "I swear on my life that I didn't kill him, I was with you at the time of his death."

"There's evidence suggesting otherwise," Lisbon replied smoothly, never blinking for a second as she leaned away from him and studied him like she was really seeing him for the first time. "There's enough proof to put you in jail for life, Jane. You got away with murder once, I don't think you'll get away with it again, no matter how victimized you try and make yourself look."

"I was framed!" Jane insisted, pulling away from her slightly. "Why do you find it so hard to believe that could be the truth?"

"Because you always said that you were going to kill him. That when you found him you were going to cut him open and watch him suffer, just like he had done with your wife and child," she relayed out to him, watching him wince as he recognized some of the phrasing that he had once used himself.

"Need I remind you that Roy Tagliaferro died of a drug overdose," Jane pointed out, leaning forward again. "They didn't find this so called evidence until days after they had cut him open. Why don't you believe me?"

Once more, Jane pulled away from her. Hurt feelings bubbled up inside his very being as he wondered why she thought it was him. They had worked together that night!

"You know that I was with you the night that he died. We were investigating the Anderson case, and you were getting irritated because you knew the boyfriend was good for it, but his alibi kept checking out—"

Leaning back in her seat and rubbing her temples, Lisbon said, "I know you were with me the night he died, but that still doesn't mean you couldn't have done it."

"I didn't do it!" Jane repeated, looking at her desperately. "After everything we've been through together, why are you finding it so hard to believe?"

"It's not that I don't believe you," Lisbon said, releasing a long breath. "Honestly, I have no idea what to believe." Lisbon leaned her head against her hands once more.

"You have to believe me," he replied, grazing her hands with his before jerking away and putting them in front of him. "Look into that night if you're not all the way there yet, but please don't just write me off. It isn't like you."

"I have Cho and Rigsby investigating that night," she confessed. "I just wanted to hear you say you had done it, because I didn't want to hear it from anybody else but you."

"You have to believe me when I say that I didn't do it," he repeated, looking at her earnestly.

There was a period of silence, where Lisbon looked down at her hands and then at the man sitting opposite her. Taking in a deep breath, she came to the conclusion that she really did believe him. "I do," she told him.

Jane sighed as he closed his eyes in relief. "Thank you."

"I have to go now, Jane, I need to get back to the office," Lisbon said. "But I promise that I'll be back soon."

When he finally opened his eyes again, she was gone, leaving a hint of a spicy cinnamon scent and a white paper bag in her place.

.

ii. "What brings you here today?" Jane asked, whilst smiling and looking at Lisbon curiously. "You haven't proved my innocence already, have you? It's only been 24 hours since your last visit—"

"No we haven't found anything out yet, I just came to see you," Lisbon replied, smiling at him warmly. "I brought you tea; it's probably tough getting a decent cup in here."

Jane didn't reply, he just accepted the Styrofoam cup gratefully and took a deep sip of the liquid while she watched him, placing her hands on the table and folding them loosely. He found that the tea tasted dreadful.

"Don't look at me that way, Lisbon," Jane said wearily, shuffling the Styrofoam cup in his hands before he continued, "Like you're afraid I'm going to break at any given moment. There's nothing to worry about, I'm fine."

She could barely keep the concerned expression off of her face. "Are you really sure?"

"Really," Jane assured her, the handcuffs around his wrists rustled against the table as he reached out and touched her knuckles with uncertainty. "You're wasting your energy."

"Red John is gone, Jane," Lisbon said as she moved her hands away from his shackled ones and looked at him. "You're in jail for killing him, are you seriously going to tell me that you're fine?"

Jane sighed tiredly. "I thought this was just a social visit."

"It is!" Lisbon rushed to assure him and looked away in slight embarrassment.

"Then please, talk to me about anything other than how I'm doing now that Red John is finally out of my life."

"Fine," Lisbon said, sighing feebly. "What do you want to talk about?"

"How's the team?" Jane asked.

"We're doing fine," Lisbon answered, rolling her eyes. "I know you always find it hard to believe, but we can close cases without you."

"I don't find it hard to believe," Jane answered. "I just find it hard to believe that you can solve as many cases without me."

"What about you?" Lisbon asked, changing the subject quickly. "How are you holding up without us?"

Jane shrugged. "Fine, I guess. I mean, being in prison isn't exactly the Governor's Ball, and the people here aren't as half as friendly as you guys are. But I'm used to it by now; this isn't my first stay in jail, you know."

"I know," Lisbon answered quietly.

"And there you go worrying again," Jane said as he produced a pack of playing cards from his prison uniform. "I need somebody to play with, all of the other jailbirds have sworn off playing with me."

"I don't know why," Lisbon said dryly as he dealt a game of War, she looked at him evenly. "You better not cheat."

"And what if I do cheat?" Jane asked lightly and raised an eyebrow.

"If you cheat, I won't come back and visit you."

He snorted. "Don't say things that are groundless."

"But I do mean it," Lisbon insisted as she picked up her stack of cards and shuffled through them. "If you cheat, I won't come back and visit you."

"Okay." He smirked at her and moved his hands over his stack.

Lisbon rolled her eyes and decided not to indulge him anymore as they both threw their cards down on the table at the same time. Jane flipped his card over and revealed a king of spades. Lisbon pursed her lips and then turned her own card over and found an ace of clubs. She just looked at Jane and shook her head disapprovingly. He smiled.

By the time visiting hours were up an hour later, Lisbon had beat Jane mercilessly at three rounds of War. She stood and stretched, flexing her fingers as she tried not to smile at him. "You let me win."

Jane smirked mysteriously, not admitting to anything. "Don't try and lie to me," Lisbon replied firmly. "I know that you cheated so I could win."

"I barely did anything," he finally confessed. "But I had to do something to make sure that you'd come back again."

"I would have come back if you won fair and square," Lisbon told him. "I just didn't want you to win because you cut the deck to your advantage or something like that. But you knew that already, didn't you."

"Meh."

This time Lisbon didn't force herself not to smile. She looked at him, her eyes sparkling underneath the fluorescent lighting of the visitation room. "You better prepare yourself, because next time I'm bringing the cards. No cheating whatsoever."

Jane returned her smile and started to shuffle the deck of cards before slipping them back into his pocket. "I'm looking forward to it."

Lisbon started to walk towards the exit, but took a second to pause and turn around to take another look at him. She smiled at him wistfully before pushing the door open and disappearing from view.

iii. "I brought UNO today." She took the cardboard box of cards from her pocket and tossed them on the table along with two paper bags from Marie's.

"You know that UNO isn't any safer than any of the other card games that we've been playing," Jane warned her. "Did you bring blueberry muffins?"

"Of course," Lisbon replied, sitting down across from him and picking up the pack of UNO cards. "I'll deal the first game, if you don't mind."

"Lisbon, I'm hurt. . . after all the games that we've played together the last few days, you still don't trust me?"

She smirked at him as she shuffled the cards and dealt out the required hand. "If your fellow liars and cheaters don't want to play cards with you anymore then why should I trust you? They probably don't want to play with you for a reason."

"Because I'm better than they are at playing cards," Jane replied firmly.

Lisbon shook her head over and drew a card from the top of the deck. "Go on and take your turn."

Jane glanced at the yellow eight and then placed a red one on top of it. He glanced at her over his handful of cards and sighed. "So. . . ."

"So. . . what?" Lisbon asked, dropping a red five without looking at him.

"How's the investigation going?"

"It's-it's going all right," Lisbon replied slowly, still not looking at him. "Granted, it isn't going as quickly as we'd like it to, but there is good progress being made."

"Good progress," Jane repeated. "Okay, what kind of good progress is good progress?"

"Cho found out that Brett Partridge was at the scene of the suicide," Lisbon said, looking at him finally.

"How is that piece of information progress?"

Lisbon sighed. "Well, Partridge never really liked you."

"I never really liked him, either," Jane added dryly, tossing down another card. "How does Brett Partridge being at the hotel have to do with anything?"

"Well," Lisbon answered. "It could have plenty to do with it, especially since he wasn't assigned to work on the Tagliaferro case."

Jane drew his lips into a thin line. "Are you saying that Brett Partridge is one of Red John's disciples?"

Lisbon shrugged. "Could be. He was always a little obsessed with him."

"But he didn't know a fake Red John from a real one," Jane reminded her.

"He could have been pretending, trying to say what most people would think," she told him.

Jane paused for a second, reflecting on her comment and then he shook his head. "I guess you could be right."

"Thank you," Lisbon said, groaning when she saw the card that he had put down. "Really, Jane?"

"Yes, really!" Jane answered. "Draw four, Lisbon, and the color is green."

Lisbon huffed and picked up the offending four cards as Jane smirked at her.

"Don't look so smug," she retorted. "You know what they say, pride goes before the fall."

"I'm not being smug," he replied smoothly as he put down another card down. "Now take your turn."

Lisbon did, and they played in silence for a while until they were both down to the last card.

"You win," Lisbon said, sighing slightly in defeat.

"You don't know that," Jane answered. "Besides, it's your turn. And unless you need to draw a card because you don't have a blue, wild, or a draw four card then you win."

Lisbon looked at the single card in her hand and then back at him. "Well. . ."

"You have a horrible poker face, my dear," Jane said, smirking. "You beat me; all I have is a yellow draw three."

"But Jane—" she tried again.

"Nope!" Jane said, scooping up the cards and shuffling them before putting them back in their box. "Congratulations on beating me."

Lisbon's cheeks turned pink. "You let me win, because the only card that I have is a yellow reverse. I should have drawn a card."

"And then – depending on what card that you had gotten – I would have had to draw a card, and it would have been a whole tedious cycle. So, I'm calling game and letting you win. Do you want to play Life?"

"Really Jane?" Lisbon asked. "Life?"

"It's better than Monopoly," he answered. "If I see the Get Out Of Jail Free card one more time. . . ."

Lisbon arched her eyebrows. "You do realize that it is just a game?"

"A very boring game."

"But Life isn't any better—"

Jane sighed. "Fine, we don't have to play Life then. How about we play Hangman?"

"Are you trying to keep me here?" Lisbon asked, her lips twitching slightly.

"Oh, no," Jane answered, a smile quirking his lips up. "You're free to come and go as you'd like—"

"Just admit it, Jane, you're trying to get me to stay."

"I won't admit to anything," Jane said stubbornly. "If you have something that you need to do, or somewhere else that you'd rather be then by all means, go and do it."

A huge smile erupted on Lisbon's face and she produced a pen from her jacket pocket as she took an empty paper bag and flattened it out. "I don't have anything that needs my urgent attention, and I certainly don't have anywhere that I'd rather be right now. I think I could play a couple rounds of Hangman with you. . . but only if you let me go first."

"Sure," he said, fighting back the urge to smile. "You can go first if you'd like."

Lisbon chewed the end of her pen thoughtfully and then uncapped it, making lines quickly. "Okay, eighteen letters, three words and it's a song title."

"Is it 'More Than Words'?" Jane asked.

"Jane!" She said in exasperation.

"What?" He asked innocently. "It isn't my fault that you're completely predictable!"

"I want a redo! And this time, I'm going to think of a something really hard!"

"Good luck," Jane said.

"Just you wait," Lisbon warned as she mentally calculated the letters in her next word. "Okay, it's still eighteen letters and three words. But this time, it's a movie title."

Jane sighed and propped his elbows up on the table, looking at her carefully drawn lines. "Is there a J?"

"Nope!" Lisbon answered smugly, writing the J near the hangman and drawing a circle.

Jane pursed his lips together thoughtfully. "Is there a T?"

"There are two," Lisbon answered.

His guessing letters and her confirming if they were right or not went on until most of the letters of the puzzle were filled in.

Jane smiled triumphantly and said jokingly, "I'd like to solve the puzzle Pat."

"Go on," Lisbon said, rolling her eyes.

"Little Miss Sunshine," Jane answered.

"Correct!" Lisbon answered with mock enthusiasm as she pushed the paper and pen towards him. "It's going to take me a while to figure out how you solved that one, Jane."

Jane chuckled as he started to make lines on the paper. "What can I say? I guess I just have the magic touch. Okay, eight letters, two words and it's a phrase."

Lisbon thought for a second and then smiled. "Is there a K?"

Jane nodded and slowly put the K on the last line. "Next."

Lisbon bit her lip and smiled at him. "Is there an H?"

"There is an H," Jane replied.

Her pulse quickened slightly as her smile grew a little wider, suddenly realizing the answer to the puzzle. Honestly, it wasn't quite that hard. Jane seemed to notice the smile etched across her features, perceiving correctly that she had already discovered the answer.

"Already?" Jane asked, pretending to look disappointed. "And I tried so hard to stump you. Go ahead, solve it since you know what it is."

"Thank you! It's thank you!" Lisbon said loudly, drawing the attention of the other cell mates and their visitors.

"Correct," Jane answered, filling in the rest of the letters.

"Jane?" Lisbon asked, bumping his hand to get his attention.

"Yes?"

"You're welcome."

iv. "You're becoming quite a hot topic of gossip around here," Jane said as he and Lisbon started a game of chess.

"Me?" Lisbon asked, trying to mask the look of shock on her face. "Why on earth would I be a 'hot topic' of gossip?"

"Oh, no reason at all." Smirking, Jane knocked down one of her pieces. "Concentrate, Lisbon, or you're going to lose."

"Not until you tell me what your cellmates are saying." Lisbon crossed her arms and gave him one of her commanding looks. "Besides, you probably wouldn't have brought it up unless you wanted me to ask you about it."

"Everyone thinks that you're my girlfriend," Jane grinned.

Lisbon frowned. "Why would they say that I'm your girlfriend? Are you saying something that would make them think that?" she asked defensively.

"No," Jane told her simply. "But you are here quite a number of times, even for a cop. Can you really blame bored men for making assumptions about you being my girlfriend?"

Lisbon's mouth opened and then shut as she gave a small shrug. "So, what did you tell them when they asked if I was your girlfriend?"

In all honesty she was actually quite curious as to what his answer would be. With Patrick Jane, one would never know what he would tell his fellow cellmates. Especially if he were bored.

Jane smirked. "Don't worry, I set the record straight and told them that you were merely my keeper, not my girlfriend."

"Jane!" Lisbon said looking slightly mortified.

"And then one man told me that it was just a different side of the same coin," Jane continued. "So, I told them the truth."

"And what was the truth exactly?" Lisbon asked, looking at him wearily.

"That you were my boss," Jane said. "And my friend, they laughed at me about that. I guess most of them just can't comprehend being friends with the police, even when the cop is somebody as beautiful as you are."

Lisbon toyed with her queen, fiddling with it between her fingers, and avoided his gaze. "Is that all? I'm your boss and your friend?"

Jane frowned, looking at her thoughtfully. "That's all? I thought you were happy with just being friends and co-workers. You've never been . . . don't tell me that you're going to turn into one of those women who start asking, so what are we really? I thought that we were good the way we were."

She bristled just a little bit. "We'regood the way we are," she reassured him quickly.

"So, you've never once considered that one day in the future that you and I – me and you – could be something more than we are now?"

Lisbon flushed slightly. "N-no, of course not—."

"You never once thought to yourself that one day when Red John is gone and I have the closure that I need, that maybe I'll decide that I want to move on with you? We'll fall in love and then live happily ever after?"

"No!" Lisbon insisted, her cheeks beginning to show signs of turning pink. "I never thought it that way."

"And you never read into any of the little things that I did for you?"

Averting her eyes away from his, Lisbon looked down at her hands. "Let's get acquainted with the case, shall we? Aren't you curious to know how it's panning out?"

"I already know how things are panning out," Jane replied a little more gruffly than he meant to. "You can turn on any news station and see how things in 'the Patrick Jane case' are panning out."

Lisbon pursed her lips together and put her chess piece down. "I'm trying to keep things quiet, but you know Brenda and how determined she is—"

"Yes, I know Brenda," Jane replied drily. "Don't change the subject."

Drawing her lips into a thin line and looking at him in the eye, Lisbon placed one hand over the other on the table. "Why do you want to talk about it? There's really nothing to say, I'm your boss and we're closer than most co-workers are. I've always been thankful for that, and I've never really wanted to change anything about that."

"Fine, we'll stop talking about it," Jane said. "I'll just have to take your word for it."

She smiled, almost triumphantly. "Good."

He leaned forward and lowered his voice. "But remember, I know everything about you, Lisbon. And I mean everything, including your deepest, darkest, most intimate secrets."

"Jane!" Lisbon whispered, looking slightly mortified.

Jane grinned and leaned back, motioning to the chessboard. "After you, my dear!"

Lisbon looked at their game; she had suddenly lost all interest in playing chess. All she could think about was Jane and what everybody in the visitor's area was thinking about them at that very moment. She had seen a burly man with a barbed wire tattoo snaking from his neck and into his orange jumpsuit looking at them with a stupid, all-knowing smile on his face.

"I really don't feel like playing anymore," she said.

"Okay," Jane replied, looking slightly disappointed. "I guess you will be going now?"

"I have a whole bunch of paperwork to do at the office," Lisbon answered, sliding off of the bench. "But I'll be back, maybe tomorrow . . . maybe at the end of the week. It all depends on what my calendar look like."

Jane nodded. "I understand. I'll see you later."

"Okay." Lisbon smiled at him. "Bye, Jane."

"Bye, Lisbon."

Jane was so occupied with watching Lisbon leave that he didn't notice one of his cellmates sidle up to his table and take the seat that she had just occupied. The cellmate wore a teasing, lopsided grin on his face.

"Have a good visit with your girlfriend?" He asked.

"I told you, Buzz," Jane said irritably. "She is not my girlfriend."

"Buddy, if she's coming to see you all the time, then there's something going on there. Normal girls just don't come and visit jail birds like us almost every day," Buzz replied. "Not unless they're sisters, wives, mothers or girlfriends. And even then, we're lucky if they visit us."

Jane stood. "She's just a good friend, Buzz. And I help her close cases, there's nothing more and nothing less between us."

But after years of repeating words similar to that, they had never sounded less convincing to his ears.

v. Lisbon walked into the prison with a bounce in her step and took a seat across from Jane with a huge smile plastered on her face. Eyeing her curiously, Jane smiled. He was quite delighted to see her look so . . . happy.

"You're awfully cheerful today," he commented. "Did something good happen?"

"Something wonderful happened!" she replied, leaning forward a bit. "Cho and Rigsby finally solved your case! You're completely innocent!"

"I thought that we had already established this," Jane said, smiling cheekily in spite of himself.

"We can prove it in the court of law now," Lisbon told him excitedly, the smile on her face extremely contagious.

"So, who framed me, then?" Jane asked interestedly, leaning forward to look at her. He really wanted to know the answer, so he was anticipating her next few words like a child waiting for Christmas.

"Brett Partridge," Lisbon answered promptly. "Apparently he's been a disciple of Red John's since he was a freshman in college."

Jane looked mildly surprised for a moment, then his face lit up and he looked at her proudly. "That means you were right, then. Congratulations, Lisbon."

She flushed with pleasure, a large smile adorning her face. "Thank you, Jane."

"No," Jane replied. "Thank you, if it hadn't been for you believing in me then I could be facing a court date and spending the rest of my life in prison, eventually being put on death row. Thank you."

"Maybe," Lisbon agreed. "You never know, though. Maybe the jury would have found you innocent because of your testimony."

Jane shrugged. "I guess we'll never get a chance to find out. So, when do I get out of this joint?"

"Joint?" Lisbon repeated, laughing slightly and raising an eyebrow at him.

"If you stay around here long enough, you pick up on certain phrases," he answered as he laughed too. "Come on and tell me when I'm getting out of here."

"Tonight at the earliest, tomorrow morning at the latest," Lisbon answered. "I just have to file some paperwork and then you'll be home free."

"I'm looking forward to it," Jane said.

"So . . ." Lisbon started tentatively, looking at him almost shyly.

"So . . . what?" he replied, looking at her encouragingly.

"Well, what are you going to do now that Red John is dead and you're getting out of jail?"

Jane sighed. "To be honest, I have no idea what I'm going to do. I always thought I was going to be killed by Red John, or kill him and go to jail for the rest of my life. I never made a backup plan, I didn't think I'd have to."

"Well, I guess it's true then," Lisbon said as she grinned at him with a teasing expression on her face.

"What's true?"

"You really aren't psychic after all."

"That's what I've been trying to tell you all of these years," Jane replied in fake exasperation.

"Seriously though, I want to know what you're going to do now."

"I guess I'm going to try and move on," Jane answered after thinking about it for a minute. "Get married again . . . maybe even start a family. I'm not that old, you know. And – if you'll have me – I'll stay with the CBI."

"Of course I'll have you," Lisbon assured him quietly. "Life at the CBI just isn't the same without you, and we need you there too."

"It's settled then," Jane said happily. "I'll be back tomorrow."

"No," Lisbon disagreed shaking her head. "I think you need to take some time to clear your head and relax a little bit. You barely had time to register that Red John had killed himself before you got arrested for his murder. I already cleared it with the Bureau and they said that you could have as much vacation time as you'd like."

"I guess it would be a good idea if I took some time off," Jane agreed. "I haven't had a real vacation since the summer before my wife and daughter died."

Lisbon looked a little surprised that he was agreeing with her, she had fully expected him to argue with her because she had taken matters into her own hands and made a decision for him. She took a deep breath and smiled at him.

"I hope you have a wonderful time doing whatever it is that you're going to be doing."

"You're leaving?" Jane asked, looking a little disappointed.

"I have things that need to be done at the office," Lisbon replied. "But I'll be back to pick you up and take you wherever you need to go tonight or tomorrow. So, start making some plans. Okay?"

Jane nodded and grabbed her hand as she rose to leave. "Thank you again. I'm not so sure what I can do for you now."

Lisbon grinned. "I'm sure that you'll come up with something especially since you know everything about me, including my deepest, darkest, most intimate secrets."

Jane's lips twitched as she used his words against him. "See you later, Lisbon."

"See you later, Jane," she answered, walking away a few steps before turning back around to face him. "And by the way, you're very welcome."

iv. Lisbon was getting anxious; it had been two weeks since Jane had gotten out of jail and taken his mandatory vacation time. And now he was coming back, she had gotten a text from him the day before saying to expect him at work the next morning.

She wouldn't admit it to anybody, but she had gotten up earlier than usual so she could arrive at the CBI before the rest of her team did. And she had taken extra care in putting her make up on and choosing her clothes for the day because she wanted to look nice for Jane when he saw her again.

The elevator door dinged open and she looked up from the place she sat on Jane's leather couch, hoping to see her blonde consultant getting off it. But it was just Ron the CBI guy.

Ron the CBI guy waved and grinned at her. "Big day today, Agent Lisbon?" he asked.

"Yes," Lisbon answered, unable to contain her grin.

"That's what I hear," he said. "Word around the office is that your man is coming back today."

Lisbon's cheeks flushed pink and she was just about to explain that Jane wasn't exactly her man when the elevator doors rolled open again and Jane stepped into the bullpen. It took a great deal of restraint not to jump up and envelope him into her arms.

Instead, she got up like the mature adult she was and smiled at him. She waited for him to approach her, which he did in a matter of seconds. Behind them, Ron grinned and disappeared into an unknown part of the building.

"Hey Lisbon," Jane said, producing Styrofoam cup and paper bag from behind his back. "I come bearing gifts."

"It's nice to see you again," she said warmly, smiling at him welcomingly as she accepted his treats.

"It's nice to see you again, too," he replied, smiling at her in return.

They fell silent, examining each other for a long moment and an unspoken I missed you hung in the air between them. Maybe one day in the future, one of them would work up the courage to say it, but for the moment it would have to be assumed only.

"Let's go talk in your office," Jane said, finally breaking into the silence. "People are going to start showing up for work soon, and I have something rather important that I'd like to discuss with you privately."

"Okay," Lisbon agreed trying not to look puzzled as she followed him to her office.

When they got to office, he took his usual spot on her couch and patted the space beside him, silently inviting her to join him. She hesitated for a moment, before accepting. She settled in and tossed her paper bag on the coffee table across from where they sat, taking a deep sip of her coffee as she looked at him expectantly.

"Do you remember when you asked me what I was going to do now that Red John is gone?" He asked, not beating around the bush at all.

Lisbon balanced her cup on her knee and nodded as she watched him thoughtfully. "You said that you guessed you were going to try and move on, maybe find a wife and start a family."

"Well, I know with certainty exactly what I want to do now," Jane said, smiling at her.

Lisbon raised her eyebrows. "You do?"

"Two weeks away is long enough to realize certain things," Jane replied. "And I realized a lot of things during my time off. One of them being is I really do want to move on and start a family again."

"I'm very happy for you," Lisbon said, feeling slightly disappointed for some reason she couldn't quite put her finger on.

"Except I don't want to date again," Jane said. "That could prove to be more trouble than it's worth."

Lisbon frowned. "If you don't date again, then how do you expect to find a woman to marry?" She had tried to make it sound as if she were teasing him.

"Because while I was away, I realized I had already found the perfect woman for me," Jane answered, his eyes now searching hers. "A woman who's seen the worst side of me and hasn't run away. A woman who's been there for me through all the good, the bad, and the ugly. A woman who's proven to be like home."

Lisbon chewed her lip. "She sounds like a dream."

"I can assure you that she's very much a reality, Lisbon," Jane replied.

"Well, who is she?" Lisbon asked.

Jane looked at her teasingly. "I'm afraid that's for me to know and for you to find out."

"Jane. . ."

He shook his head and stood up. "Is there any tea? Or did you drink it all while I was away?"

"I just replaced it yesterday," Lisbon replied, standing up and following him into the kitchenette. "You're really not going to tell me who this girl is?"

Jane merely smiled at her as he got his tea down from the cabinet and filled the kettle with water. "Do you have any plans for this weekend?" he asked.

_The End_