Okay, finally, here's my next piece... it's a short one, but I hope you like it anyway!

SPECIAL THANKS to Karini M thecrimsonhat, who kindly provided the pics... I saw them in one of her wonderful collages on tumblr.

When I asked, she generously gave away the pics, which were exactly what I needed for my cover- THANK YOU SO MUCH (in case you read this ;D)!

ANOTHER VERY SPECIAL THANKS goes to my very good friend Kathryn, who took the time to have a look at this story before I posted it... it's the first time somebody beta-read one of my fics, and I'll be FOREVER GRATEFUL!

Disclaimer: I don't own The Mentalist, and I don't make money from fan fiction.

Fire and Lightning

Patrick Jane felt his anger slowly but surely reach boiling point.

It astonished him no end- he usually had an iron clad grip on his feelings without giving the matter much attention. But today, the rules didn't seem to apply. And he felt lost and alien inside his own skin.

The feelings of strangeness, of spending tedious days walking through syrupy air that couldn't sustain him, persevered against a sense of being home, of having returned to a turf he knew by heart. After six months of struggling in noisy Las Vegas, the gloomy, stubborn silence of the attic didn't seem like much of an improvement.

But whenever he attempted to search for a motel room, some place to stay with an actual bed in it, he ended up walking the streets all night, sometimes shaking like a leaf. He'd never been more certain that normal life wasn't for him- he felt like a zombie most of the time, and he was pretty sure he looked the part.

Well, at least a little.

He brushed his hand through his curls and continued to watch Lisbon out of the corner of his eye. She seemed to be in her element here, field work, consultant back…

They had joined the Sheriff's investigation in yet another godforsaken small town, at least gorgeously placed in the middle of the mountains, so his eyes had found a lot of spots to rest on.

Until he had noticed that the Sheriff flirted with his best friend. Heavy flirting that pretty much only allowed for one outcome. And why that pissed him off so much, Patrick Jane couldn't even begin to understand.

Sheriff Masterson looked like the dream cast of a porn movie made for women: early thirties, buff (Jane admitted with a groan that his own physique was less than stellar in that regard, but who cared, dammit), short black hair, a tan that indicated him as a man of the outdoors. He was tall and massive. A Tarzan fantasy.

Too cheap to be true, but of course, Lisbon flirted back, tentatively, but she did. He couldn't really blame her. She'd had to feel unbelievably lonely those six months he'd been gone, and no matter how much he wanted to, there wasn't anything he could do to make it better.

He was horribly out of practice with comforting anyone, when people became teary and sentimental in his company he started to feel awkward and just too gladly gave in to his flight tendencies.

Teresa was no exception. Now that the neediness of those final moments in the Las Vegas desert was gone, he just couldn't touch her. He preferred their banter, the old backslapping comradeship he had felt for years. He had never trusted someone the way he trusted her, she knew all his dirty secrets, and somewhere down the road, he had given up worrying about that.

They were in this together, the whole nine yards. And sometimes, it even gave him kind of a warm feeling deep inside. Banished a loneliness that seemed to be as much a part of him as his left arm.

He watched her some more, openly this time. She looked small. Why had he never noticed how damn tiny she was? No, that was a lie- he had noticed, of course. And had decided to ignore it. Had pushed anything from his mind that might indicate the human being he trusted was a woman.

Love you.

What had he been thinking, huh?

But the moment the words had escaped, they had felt natural. Right. He hadn't really understood what he had said until she had started to enquire later, and then, somehow, out of an unfathomable reason that would possibly stay in the dark, he hadn't been able to simply deny his words.

He had wondered about it a hundred times ever since.

It could have been so easy.

"Well, you know you are my best friend, Lisbon, like the little sister I never had…"

Yes, why hadn't he said that?

Sure, she had been easily distracted, it hadn't taken much effort to get her off his tracks. But he had felt raw and hurting afterwards, short of saying unspeakable things he would have regretted to no end.

You didn't turn into a sentimental little boy in his kind of game and get out of the experience in one piece. He hoped it had finally taught him a lesson: feelings were best kept inside a box.

Not that he had any feelings to speak of. He sighed a wild, somewhat desperate sigh he didn't like at all.

Masterson strolled into the room, all winks and finger guns. He was a classical knight in shining armor, while Jane himself was nothing but a nuisance and safety risk. He felt himself rolling his eyes when Masterson approached the object of his desire… Masterson's desire, of course.

"I prepared the interviews for tomorrow, agent Lisbon," the young sheriff smiled, flexing his biceps which bulged the short sleeves of his uniform shirt ever so nicely, "is there something else you need me for tonight?"

Jane almost cringed. You wish, you lecherous bastard.

Anger so strong it almost made him gasp surged up inside his guts until he could taste its bitterness on his tongue, and he seriously started to lose patience with himself now. He hadn't reacted half as pissed when Lisbon had had her funny little romp with Mashburn. And why should he have? She'd deserved it, for god's sake!

She deserved it even now- she wasn't his keeper, wasn't responsible for his feelings, his well-being. But damn, it hurt, and part of him wanted to whine and pout until she took him in her arms and kissed it all better.

What was the matter with him? She had never encouraged emotions like this in him, and he felt mildly disgusted at the level of neediness he was showing.

"No, Sheriff," Lisbon said, and Jane could clearly hear the blinding smile in her voice, "I'll let you know if I change my mind, okay?"

Her voice seemed a little lighter, sexier. Jane felt the tiny hairs at the nape of his neck stand on end.

The sheriff winked at her and tapped his hat before he turned and left the bungalow the team had been assigned for accommodation with a little spring to his step that obviously was designed to show off his shapely buttocks.

Jane growled low in his throat. Jerk.

Thunder rolled in the distance, the sound deep and menacing, and it fit his mood splendidly. He felt the pout grow on his lips and almost snorted in contempt. What a pathetic sight he had to be right now.

The team retired to their bedrooms on the upper floor one by one, Lisbon the last to go, frowning at him. Clearly worried for him like she was most of the time. It gave him a painful little pang in the depths of his heart, and his chest clenched along with it. He shoved the lonely, cuddly little Patrick away with an angry kick.

"Are you alright, Jane?" Lisbon asked, her eyes showing how much she cared for him.

"Sure," he shrugged, "stop fussing about me like a mother hen, Lisbon. I'm not your wayward child. I've never been better, really."

She nodded and turned around, but when she walked up the stairs, he detected a certain drag in her step, a reluctance to leave him. He forced himself to turn his eyes heavenwards in a perfect lie of irritation, but the truth just hurt so much: only in Teresa Lisbon's eyes he could see the spark of humanity that still inhabited his soul. Without her, he would truly become a creature of the darkness. And that the thought still scared him, granted a strange kind of comfort.

Jane stayed on the stuffy, uncomfortable couch, feeling lonely and homesick, unable to find sleep.

The rain was pouring down the window panes as if somebody put a hose to it, and somehow all the water seemed like a symbol for the tears he had never cried. He chuckled, the sound dry and without real humor. What a moment to become a weepy poet.

He opened the buttons of his vest, forcing himself to concentrate on the task. It had been stifling hot all day, so much so that the night couldn't really cool the toasty air. Even the thunderstorm was no match for the blazing summer heat. He wiped a few beads of sweat from his forehead before he unbuttoned his shirt, too, and finally toed off shoes and socks to be more comfortable.

He would have stubbornly denied the fact that he was simply sitting here to stop Lisbon from searching out Masterson for a nightly tryst, but when he heard the unmistakable patter of naked feet on the stairs, he instantly knew it was true. His blood pressure exploded through the roof, and he felt himself to slowly, thoroughly fill up with livid jealousy. Because that was what it was: he was jealous like hell.

Images crashed into his mind, Lisbon gasping and moaning in the sheriff's arms, begging him to… he shuddered helplessly.

Had he become so hopelessly dependent on Lisbon's attention being focused solely on him? He was no circus bear, dammit, and he should well be used to his loneliness by now, marking the fact that he couldn't live a normal life any longer. Why did he want her to suffer along with him?

She approached him, looking so sweet and innocent, his guts cramped. Wide, green eyes, small lips so full and rosy, a soft touch of the sun's kiss on her cheeks. Her hair like a dark flame around her head.

"You off to tell Masterson what you need him for tonight?" he drawled, ignoring the fact that she hadn't even attempted to reach the door before she had come to him.

He was pissed like hell, and his anger needed a victim. Now.

His gaze wandered over her legs, slender and naked under her football jersey. He ignored the constant shudders that raced up and down his spine and glared at her instead.

"No," she answered, shrugging softly, "I wanted to discuss the case with you, because…"

He snorted, giving her a mean little smirk.

"Of course… you know, Lisbon, I'm almost glad that you found your sexual drive again, I was half afraid you could be completely dried up after all the time without a proper man in your bed."

She blushed fiercely, her head rearing back as if he'd slapped her. He swallowed the sudden, unwelcome onslaught of shame and ploughed on, not caring how many fatalities he caused.

"If you need any help remembering what the male parts are for, feel free to ask me, Lisbon. I had some practice lately."

When he saw her face, he realized for the first time how much his stint with Lorelei had bothered her, and the piece of him he had thought long dead desperately wanted to take the words back. Too late now, he had already afflicted too much damage, and his hurtful anger took the reins.

The beautiful face he had come to look for whenever he felt insecure dissolved in a sadness so deep he almost choked on it.

"Go, Lisbon," he said, twisting the knife he had effortlessly pushed between her ribs, "use him. What do you want, my blessing? You have it. Go and have your fun. I don't want you."

And just like that, as soon as the words were out, wafting between them like a poisonous mist, he realized the true extent of his lie, for both of them. Saw feelings in her eyes he'd never thought to see directed at him again, felt his own soul reach out for her, groping, hungering, desperately needing to pull her close. He was nothing without her. And he had lied horribly to her. A thousand times.

He wanted her so much it filled him to the brim. His want, his need, his longing, all swirling inside him since ages, begging him to win her, act before it was too late, before he would be lost forever. Before he lost her forever.

Tears were biting the back of his throat, and lightning illuminated the darkened room, silence a deadly potion between them, and yet the words wouldn't come.

He had hurt so deep with just a few sentences, the power of Lisbon's sadness took his breath away. It felt as if he'd just had amputated his own arm with a pair of nail scissors.

He swallowed a gasping moan.

Lisbon turned wordlessly and stormed out into the thunderstorm-filled night, right into the warm, pouring rain, and when her actions registered he finally found the energy to move, racing after her into the noisy, ferocious uproar of the storm.

He was wet through in seconds, the rain soaking his clothes, running down his skin in small, frantic rivers.

Her shirt stuck to her frame, painting her curves with its wet fabric while she sobbed uncontrollably as if a dam had broken inside her, unleashing the whole force of her tears along with the rain.

Jane gasped and almost flinched in shame when he became hard, so painfully aroused he felt like doubling over, and with the deafening crackle of the storm, his control snapped.

He didn't hug her to him, he all but jumped her, tackled her, pushing her small body onto the soft, wet grass, his fingers digging into her shoulders.

Her head hit the ground with a soft thud, water dripped from his face onto hers and he couldn't tell what was tears or rain any longer, he didn't care, leaning down to lick the moisture from her skin, more and more, his erection as hard as it had never been in his life.

He felt her delicate bones, she was so damn fragile, and it aroused him even further. She struggled slightly, half-heartedly trying to push him off, but damn, he was pressing his hard-on against her stomach, making slow, rubbing movements, and if she wanted to deter him now, she had to bring on the big guns- she didn't, though. He used both hands to spread her legs and noticed that she stopped squirming, making soft, hungry noises instead, raising her face to invite his touch.

He groaned and bowed down to claim her lips.

Somewhere at the back of his mind, he wanted to be gentle and tender, to soothe the pain he had inflicted, but the raging need of his jealous body overruled his sensible mind, and the kiss came out hungry, ferocious, devouring her like a tasty treat that had him addicted in seconds.

His tongue pushed inside her mouth like a wild, mad intruder, plundering her for a taste so sweet it made him shudder.

He needed more, needed her closer, deeper, his hand wandered between their bodies, fingers twisting into her panties until the flimsy fabric tore. He impatiently tossed the remnants on the ground, his lips too busy with hers to even look, tongues battling, tasting, fighting to get closer.

She tasted like the sunshine he had been missing all these years, and suddenly he wondered what had kept him so long, how he could have lied about something as monumental as this, his hips started to move on their own volition, dry humping her like a horny schoolboy while his kisses grew even more lustful. The mixture of sensations felt so wonderful he was momentarily distracted and missed how Lisbon pushed her leg up between his and shoved, effectively getting him under her, straddling his hips.

His shoulder blades hit the grass and he gasped in a mixture of surprise and utter delight. He loved being manhandled by her, wouldn't have minded her slapping him around, be rough and insistent with him. She was no fragile bird which needed to be protected, and when he opened his eyes and looked at her she was all fierce, passionate woman, the rain running through her hair and her clothes, giving her a primal, animal aura that drove him wild.

She was gritting her teeth, and for a moment he was scared she would stop, simply leave him here, alone, the thunder was crackling like a threat, whipping his emotions into a frenzy. He sighed with relief when she pushed her hands inside his open shirt, her fingernails lightly scratching his skin, heightening his arousal until he felt dizzy with it.

She straightened and grabbed the hem of her soaked jersey, pulling the clingy fabric over her head before she carelessly flung it on the ground next to them.

He knew he was staring as if he were hypnotized, and in a way, he was. Pain lashed through him like a fiery whip, and the emotional turmoil of the past months swelled into a deafening crescendo.

She looked like a pagan goddess, her slim, pale body almost glowing in the darkness, lightning crashing over the sky to illuminate the perfection of her creamy skin and lithe form, her face hungry and wanton, demanding his sacrifice.

He was scared beyond words, and for a moment he didn't know if he could do it, if he could accept a life beyond his past, embrace the honesty she was offering him. He'd never been an honest man, but with someone like her, lying wasn't an option.

He instantly knew his answer when she bent over and kissed him, knew he would yield, would offer her everything he was. Her lips were warm and gentle this time, showing the protection she had always granted him. She had never let him down. He could do the same for her.

His hands roamed her naked body, stoking the fire into a wild lust that made her first moan, than straighten again, lifting her upper body from his. Leaving him bereft for the moment, his rampant feelings breaking free in a hungry little whimper.

Her fingers wandered to his belt, swiftly unbuckling it before she opened the zipper, and his senses went into overload, blood crashing through his veins like the bolts of lightning twitching over the dark sky, his breath so fast it seemed to be scorching his lungs.

He'd never felt like this before, walking the edge of his sanity, his whole body arching when she wrapped a tiny hand around his erection. She couldn't span it with her fingers, and her urgent, rubbing caresses almost made him come on the spot.

He let her play, though, gladly surrendering to the power she had over him, her enormous inner strength translating into his system with every touch, every flick of her wrist, and he grunted and groaned with pleasure, his cock twitching in her hand.

He whined when she released him, but willingly lifted his hips when she pushed his wet pants and boxers down, gasping when her hot thighs made contact with his calves, skin on skin so delicious he wanted to sink into her, drown in her supple body, inhale her essence until he was filled up with it. She let her mouth wander up his leg, using her teeth on him from time to time, making him jerk and gasp like an obedient slave who swallowed eagerly what his mistress dished out.

Whenever she looked at him, he read in her eyes how long she had wanted him, how fed up she was with denying what had been there all along, and it made him shake even harder, evoked the need to give endlessly, repay her for all the faith and love and desire she had poured into him, keeping her devotion a secret all those years.

She slowly approached his groin and his whole body went rigid, his fingers digging into the soft, soaked earth beneath him in anticipation, her nose nuzzled his pubic hair, built his excitement until finally, infinitely slowly, she turned her head and pressed a kiss on his shaft.

It felt like a deep red flower spreading to full bloom in rapid movement, every resistance inside him gave way, ecstasy pouring from his core like a heady concoction that made him roar deep in his throat.

He started panting immediately, and Lisbon slid her tongue all over his length, tracing the heavy, pulsating vein, lapping at the rain that was still pouring like mad. Her mouth was hot, the drops of rain slightly cool, and the contrast heightened the sensations until he started to writhe beneath her.

He stiffened until he was almost sitting upright when she swallowed him whole, taking his massive cock as deep as it would go and then some, letting his hardness slide deep into her throat, engulfing him in a haven of oven-warmth.

"Teresa," he croaked, hardly audible over the pelting rain, "Please, don't, I'm gonna…"

The words were lost in a desperate cry when she started to suck, her cheeks hollowing from the force she used to get him off, cause the ultimate pleasure for him. She didn't take any prisoners, clearly aimed at making him come in her mouth, the thought alone brought him closer and closer, wriggling and squirming beneath her, his sounds getting louder and louder until his vision blurred completely.

For a moment he felt every sensation as if it were enhanced by drugs, the coolness of the rain, soaking him to the bones, and the incredible heat wherever she touched, his cock squeezed into the toasty warmth of her mouth, and then everything exploded into a supernova of emotion.

He arched his body and screamed, his yell shooting into the night like his seed shot down her throat, every single spurt made him cry out with the force of his release, and she drank it all, swallowed every drop, every jet of liquid he spilled, her hands curling around his hips to hold him still.

He felt dizzy and confused when he finally stopped coming, and just as she released him, his semi-hard length gliding from the confines of her mouth, thunder crackled again and the rain started to fall even harder.

He was so horny, his anger having fueled a lust that floored him, that he needed only seconds to compose himself, and with his need for her returned his strength. He grabbed her upper arms and pulled her up, thrusting his tongue into her naughty mouth before he rolled over and brought her body beneath his, damn, she felt small, her sharply protruding hipbones digging into the softer flesh of his stomach.

He shuddered with lust when she pushed his open, wet shirt and vest down his shoulders and arms, the drenched clothes landing on the ground with a distinct splash.

The feelings wrecking his body felt like a seizure, and he so wanted to drink from her, but when he moved to slide down, cover her whole frame with wet, warm kisses, licking the cool rain from her skin, she stopped him briskly, wrapping her legs around his waist.

The contact of her liquid heat with his cock made him fully hard again, so hard he groaned and had to muster every ounce of self-control to stop from pushing in to the hilt in one brutal stroke.

"I want to taste you," he pressed out, showering her jaw and throat with kisses.

"Later," she said, her voice strangled, breathless, her hands driving through his soaking wet curls, "I need more of you now, Jane."

He looked into her eyes, his length throbbing against her soft female flesh, and she wore her heart in her gaze, her warm, tender, beautiful heart which had kept him from falling those past years, had held him upright when he would simply have given up.

"All of me," he answered urgently, knowing he spoke nothing but the truth, just as he had when he had spilled his love for her in the heat of the moment in her office, "it's all yours, my sweet. Every kiss, every hair, every whiff of breath. Yours."

And with a swift intake of breath, he pushed inside her.

Damn, she was tight, he reared up in shock for a second before he angled his hips to get in deeper, using his hip muscles to give her every single inch of his cock. Her walls squeezed at him so relentlessly he was immediately close again, as if he hadn't come already. He felt how aroused she was, how much he excited her, her sex was swollen, hot, pillow-soft, and he was so eager to fully get inside her he pushed up on his arms and shoved with all his might.

She threw her head back, her face contorted in pleasure, spreading her legs to accept all of him, receive him as deep as he could go. He exhaled in relief when he realized that she was begging for more, that he didn't hurt her, the rain battering his back when he pulled out again and rammed back inside, much harder this time, making her gasp with ecstasy.

"Yes," she hissed, "hard, Jane- I need you hard now, don't hold back, please."

He shivered, but there was no way he would deny her, he would give her whatever she wanted. He lowered his head, the rain dripping from his hair onto her face, and when he thrust again, he mustered every ounce of force his muscles could give, slamming into her to the hilt, until his balls slapped against her buttocks, the sensations making both of them cry out.

It felt so wonderful he got louder by the minute, screaming and frothing and roaring like a wild beast, and she spurred him on with her wicked little fingernails, scratching his wet skin until the slight pain almost drove him insane, making him pound into her like a madman. His muscles were bulging, his cock swelling inside her until it felt as if he were battering her with a lamppost, soon they were groping each other rampantly, hands and fingers wandering wherever they could reach, and his rhythm was hard and fast, his rough thrusts making her body quake on impact, every damn time.

He knew her back rubbed against the wet grass every time he hammered into her, but he wanted her so much, wanted her to come from his vicious thrusts, wanted to make her his. Forever.

When he was inside her so deep he seemed to fill the essence of her, he realized he didn't want to compromise any longer, didn't want to hold back, wanted to embrace what life still had to give him. He became scared, his rhythm getting erratic when suddenly he felt her tiny hand against his cheek, and when he looked at her, she saw her come. Her eyes fluttered shut, her lips parted on a soft cry, trembling with pleasure as her groans got louder and louder, and at the same moment he felt the telltale clenching of her interior muscles, squeezing him as hard as if she wanted to milk him dry.

The sight, the sensations where so breath-taking, so mind-blowing, that every doubt was wiped from his mind. She was his. He would never give her up, his guilt, his fear, his pain, not even Red John could make him.

It took all of his self-control to thrust through her climax, she came so hard she almost managed to keep him inside her, and when he pulled out against the resistance of her body, the friction was so fierce he felt the first spurts of seed spilling immediately.

Damn, he'd never felt such an earth-shattering arousal before, his skin tingled all over just from the delirious pleasure flooding his system and he held nothing back now, taking her hard and deep, again, again, his heart, his body felt like bursting, and when he surged into her again, hitting a spot so deep she came once more, he relented and erupted in an enormous, almost painful gush of seed.

He doubled over, pressing his face against her chest while he emptied himself inside her, jet after jet of semen, her sleek muscles convulsing all around him, making him ejaculate so much he filled her to overflowing, his juices seeping into the drenched earth beneath her.

Both were beyond speech when their senses were finally returning, and Jane felt dizzy with gratitude when she simply took him into her arms, his ear pressed against the place where her heartbeat thundered, her hands gently stroking his curls.

The rain had lessened, but they had well skipped being wet and entered the "soaked"-stadium long ago.

He couldn't care less and the calm way in which she was stroking him, her fingers still warm compared to the gently drumming rain, he realized the wetness didn't bother her either.

He didn't get up before he sensed her getting sleepy, her movements becoming slow and erratic, and he smiled fondly, pressing sweet kisses on her chest, lazily playing with her nipple when he found it temptingly close to his lips.

Her blissed-out sigh sounded wonderful to him, showing him he might not be a complete failure as the man she loved. He looked at her and found that she had closed her eyes, her breathing quiet and exhausted while the rain kept dripping.

He got up slowly, reluctant to leave the delicious warmth of her body, and winced when he caught a glimpse of her small body. She was so pale and wet, her hips were bruised from his fingers. But when she opened her eyes, she smiled at him, so pure and open it made his heart soar.

"You're a jerk." She whispered.

He chuckled and pulled her up, lifting her into his arms, surprised at how light she was. She felt so good against his body, as if she belonged there, and as if to support his notion she wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing her face against his throat. He wondered if they might encounter other members of their team this late at night, before he decided he didn't particularly care.

"Your room or mine?" he asked , gently kissing her forehead, hoping she wouldn't push him away now.

"Yours," she yawned, "the sheets will smell like you there."

He chuckled, relief and happiness drugging him like a potion.

"Well, my dear," he said, carrying her inside, "since I smell like me, there's no way you'll escape my scent either way."

But he dutifully carried her to his room, carefully setting her on her own feet once they were inside. He fetched some towels from the bathroom and rubbed her dry, then did the same with himself before he pushed back the sheets and invited her to join him.

The silence was very loud around them, he could hear her swallowing and wondered what she thought, if she regretted what they had done, if she understood the implications of what had happened between them.

He had given everything up that had formed his tiny world, had opened a part of him that had been closed for so long. It felt liberating and scary at the same time, and the guilt he felt stayed a calm throb at the back of his heart, never leaving him, although Lisbon's gentle hands made the pain more bearable, gave him the ability to breathe.

A yawn broke free from his lips, and suddenly he felt warm and safe and sleepy, ready to find some rest.

The future was confusing and mysterious, but he could bear the insecurity as long as he was close to her. He would stretch the muscles he hadn't used for a while, would allow the feelings to slowly spread, would learn to be the man she needed. He'd done it once, he thought with a surge of bittersweet memories, he could do it again. For her.

He kissed her hair and smiled when she opened her eyes, looking at him out of deep, green pools of light.

"I love you." He said, needing this moment of honesty, clarity, for once showing his true colors to someone he trusted.

She was the only one who had seen his true self in ten years, and her love made it all worthwhile, even the dark things he had done. He knew it would weaken and strengthen him at the same time. It gave him a new set of instruments. Maybe one of them would help him to put his ghosts to rest once and for all.

Teresa Lisbon would be at his side.

She framed his face with her hands and kissed his lips, so soft and light he hardly felt it before her taste registered on his tongue. So sweet. He moaned contentedly.

"I love you, too," she whispered, and his eyes fluttered shut.

They were mad, insane, but there was nothing they could do. It had been bound to happen one day, and he couldn't bring himself to regret anything they had become to each other.

Love you, he'd said before he'd shot her, and it had been the first time that he hadn't denied the truth.

He wanted to say more, wanted to give her some kind of reassurance, but when he opened his mouth to let the words out, he realized that she had fallen asleep, her head on his chest.

He smiled and watched her for a while, her face so peaceful and innocent in sleep, damp dark hair framing her pale face. She looked like an angel washed upon the shore.

A tear slipped free before he closed his eyes and tried to get some sleep.

So much pain. So much despair. Now that she had brought some good feelings into his heart, the bad ones almost seemed stronger in contrast. He knew the sensation would fade, but it hurt. He sighed, knowing he wouldn't go asleep thinking about his past, the awful things he had done, how chasing his family's killer had changed him.

But just before he was about to give up, gently extricate himself from her embrace and leave the bed, she grabbed his hand, tightly wrapping her fingers around his.

And he became quiet, looking at their joined hands, his breath getting calmer and calmer.

Before he could form another thought, his eyelids became heavy, and everything vanished into a blissful nothingness.

The End