Author's note: What is this? An update? Yes, I think it is!
Thank you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter and I hope you enjoy this one.
Disclaimer: I don't own The Mentalist.
Good Samaritan Hospital – Malibu
"He hasn't moved in days, guys. Don't you think we should try to-"
"You don't really think he's going to leave her side, do you? There's no way he will leave this room until she wakes up."
"I know, I know. But shouldn't we try to at least distract him? I mean, he isn't doing very well…"
As Lisbon slowly woke up, she could hear whispered voices somewhere to her right. Her brain was too fogged up to distinguish who said what, but she knew it was her team. And it seemed like they were talking about Jane.
Her attempt at moving her arm and opening her eyes brought her a terrible flash of pain, eliciting a moan and effectively silencing the room's other occupants.
A warm hand was suddenly holding hers gently and she could sense that all three people had moved closer to her bedside.
"Boss?" Grace tightened her hold on Lisbon's hand. "Can you…can you open your eyes?"
With an immense effort, Lisbon managed to do as asked, only to close them again quickly. The harsh lighting of the hospital room brought tears to her eyes and they fell unchecked down her cheeks.
Cho spoke up, his voice strained. "Lisbon. Do you want us to call a nurse?"
She shook her head quickly, causing more pain.
"No, no. Let me just…" Taking a deep breath, she slowly lifted her eyelids, taking care not to look at any of the lights. She focused on Grace's face instead, noting how tear tracks were apparent on her pale cheeks. "I'm okay."
At everyone's incredulous looks, the exhausted agent cracked a small smile. "Alright, not exactly. But I will be." She became serious once more, looking at each of them in turn. "I don't know how you did it, but you got me out of there in time." She squeezed Van Pelt's hand. "Thank you. All of you."
Grace looked at her team members and back at her injured boss, smiling genuinely for the first time since Lisbon was taken. "We're a family, Lisbon. And family takes care of family."
Rigsby smiled as well, looking over at the sleeping consultant whom Lisbon hadn't noticed before then. "Besides, Jane was the one who figured it out. As usual."
Lisbon laughed, scowling slightly when her ribs hurt because of it. She turned back to her team, a frown across her face. "How bad is it?"
"You've got a couple of fractured ribs. Broken leg. Several burns all over your body. And, oh yeah- you almost died of smoke inhalation poisoning."
Everyone turned to the chair where Jane was sitting at once. Lisbon flinched at the look of pure anger on his face, while the others quickly stood up and started walking toward the door.
"We are going to get something to eat. Do you guys want anything?" Rigsby looked nervously from Lisbon to Jane, waiting for a response. When both gestured no, the three agents quickly fled the room, giving them the privacy they needed.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" He sprang up from his chair and started to pace in front of her bed. "What were you thinking, Lisbon? That it was all right for you to hand yourself in? To leave us all? Leave me? Because I can assure you that your sacrifice wouldn't have been worth it. You know why? Because the moment I realized he had taken you I knew I wouldn't make it. I knew that your loss would be too much. Too painful. But you didn't even think about that at all, did you? You just-"
He stopped pacing, quickly looking back at her and waiting for an explanation.
"You are such a hypocrite. How many times over the years have you put your life in danger for the same purpose? How many times have you risked your life to save mine?" Lisbon's voice had gotten louder as her agitation grew and she was practically screaming by the time she finished speaking.
"It's not the same!"
"Why is it any different?!"
The door suddenly burst open and a nurse came rushing in, a terrified look on her face. "What is going on in here?" She turned to Jane angrily. "Mr. Jane! I thought I had told you that Agent Lisbon needs to remain calm! A rise in her blood pressure could cause her stay in the hospital to be prolonged. Is that what you want?" Jane looked down, ashamed. "That's what I thought." She turned to Lisbon, her expression instantly smoothing and becoming merely worried. "Do you need anything? Here, let me help you sit up." After doing so, she turned back to Jane. "I can make him leave, if you'd prefer."
Lisbon looked at him for a couple of seconds, blinked, and shook her head. She didn't want to argue with him, she was so tired. But having an angry Jane to keep her company was better than no Jane at all. She knew he wouldn't leave her unless she wanted him to. "No, he's fine. Thank you."
The other woman nodded and left the room. As soon as the door closed behind her, Jane was by Lisbon's side, sitting on the chair Van Pelt had vacated. He grabbed her hand, gently, bringing it to his lips.
"I'm sorry, Teresa. I'm so sorry." He took a shuddering breath and tears pooled in his eyes. "You were so brave, dear. So brave. But I'm not worth it. You are. You've always been worth it."
Lisbon shook her head, squeezing his hand. "Stop it. Please, Patrick. You are worth it. To me, at least. You really should know this by now. Please don't ever say that again."
"It's true." At her glare, Jane smiled a bit and stroked her cheek. "But I won't say it again."
She leaned into his brief touch and nodded in relief when he removed his hand. "Good."
"How are you feeling? Really."
She smirked. "Like I fell through a wooden floor and landed on top of a broken chair. Inside of a burning building."
Jane flinched and she instantly regretted her faked nonchalance. Why should she try to lie to him? He would figure it out anyway. Surprisingly, Lisbon realized that she didn't want to lie to Patrick, either. She wanted him to know how she was feeling. She wanted his comfort and reassurance. Grabbing his hand, she decided that he deserved to know what had happened in that house.
"Seriously, I'll be fine. It hurts, still, of course. But I'm lucky to be alive and, all things considered, lucky that I didn't get worse injuries." He nodded, seemingly entranced by their joined hands. "Patrick, I-" She hesitated, causing Jane to meet her eyes. "I think I should tell you what happened in there. What he said."
The suddenly terrified man inhaled sharply, squeezing her hand almost too tightly. "Teresa, I don't think…" He looked away. "I have a pretty good notion of what he might have said to you. And, frankly, I don't want to hear it." She nodded, waiting for him to look back at her face. He did, moving forward slowly while framing her face with his hands and placing a gentle kiss on her forehead. "He's gone. Red John is gone for good. And you're alive. That's all that matters to me."
Lisbon sighed shakily, feeling instantly bereft when his lips left her skin. Noticing her sorrowful expression, Jane's eyes filled with tears again and he embraced her fiercely, remembering about her painful injuries just in time.
"I was so worried." He choked up, unable to speak around the enormous lump in his throat. "I meant what I said before. I would never be able to survive your death. Ever." He shivered. "Don't ever do this to me again."
Lisbon tightened her hold on him, as much as she could with her lack of strength and utter exhaustion. "I won't."
Jane shuddered again, kissing her hair. "I love you." He whispered.
Lisbon moved away suddenly, as if she had been electrocuted. "What did you say?"
The consultant smiled the most beautiful smile she had ever seen. "I don't know. What did I say?"
She smacked his arm lightly, tears filling her eyes. "Jane?"
"What do you think I said, silly woman? I love you." He moved his hand and wiped at her cheeks. "I meant it before too, you know. I just couldn't afford to tell you, not then. You were in too much danger already."
She moved forward, her arms snaking around his neck, anchoring him to her. Lisbon hid her tear-stained face in the crook of his neck, kissing his skin softly.
"I love you too."
He moved away a fraction of an inch; just enough to lift her chin and brush his lips against hers. The kiss was innocent and gentle, but both broke apart breathing heavily and wide-eyed. Lisbon looked down shyly, a blush tinting her cheeks, and held onto both of his hands with hers. She suddenly realized that a significant part of the man before her was strangely missing.
"Where's your wedding ring?"
He smiled again and Lisbon followed suit. She couldn't help it. His happiness was contagious.
"It's somewhere safe." He kissed her gently one more time. "That chapter of my life is over, Teresa. And I'm ready to start a new one, if you are."
Her smile widened and she leaned forward, linking their lips in a passionate kiss. It was different from the first two, now that they were more comfortable and confident with their new roles. All had one thing in common, though- the promise of a future together, something neither would trade for anything else.
"I'll take that as a yes."
Author's note: That's all, folks! Thank you to everyone who followed me through my first attempt at a multi-chapter and for all of your support. I'll be forever grateful.
I'm currently working on another story (a series of one-shots focusing on Jane and Lisbon's relationship throughout all seasons of the show) so feel free to check it out if you want to. Until next time!