Sleeves Stained Red

5

A/N: So sorry this took so long to post. Too many days without power (AGAIN!) and too much work to catch up on.

A very big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, review, favorite or follow this story. This is the finale chapter so I hope you enjoy…

There's not much in this moment you can stand to recognize except of course the obvious; there's the frantic heartbeat within the chest pressed along the contour of your cheek, the fingers still locked tenderly within your hair, and the warm sweat dampened body pressed along every inch of your own. And of course there are still the small electric pulses of pleasure skipping in and out of every breath you breathe.

Your bodies never lose sync even as you both make your way back down from the physical high of passion. You take the time you need to catch your breath and let your equally erratic heartbeats find their normal rhythm before you can even think to move.

It would seem the calm that so often comes before the storm has instead followed in the wake of its recession.

Because now there's a stillness here, and unlike its predecessors it's filled every fiber, every breath and every touch with the gentle ribbons of contentment. There are no threats here, no judgment beyond your own. It's a feeling so pure and light you're sure it mirrors that of nothing you've ever before felt.

You know there are things you need to say, things too important to continue to brush aside. But all that hovers along your vocal cords are fragment sentences that would make you sound like some lust strung teenager.

Wow.

Oh my.

Thank God.

You've dealt with quite a few firsts this evening and each one seems to grow greater than its counterpart. But you've yet to make the greatest declaration of the night. A first you've not experienced in nearly two decades. Never before have the words compelled so much and never before have they fought with such a vengeance to be free.

If your mind were clear you might have to touch upon the chance of her resistance to hear it.

The thought stops you cold. She's reminded you often of how you are the greatest liar she's known. And as someone who lives and breathes by the truth she's always shied away from your less commendable habits. Because truth be told, you've lied to her, you've lied to her often.

But by now she has to know every lie you've ever told her was done with the greatest of intentions.

A liar and a cheat you may be but never have your actions held the intent to cause her pain. Somehow she's come to mean more to you than anyone was every supposed to and you've spent far too many nights waging a war between your conscience and your heart.

They do say that love concurs all.

You're the first to move and it doesn't surprise you. You can only assume she's more than content to spend the rest of the night right here, her love drunk body wrapped tightly around you. You can completely understand because there's still the heat of a passion so deep and intense burning within you. But your hands lift her face and bring her eyes level with your own. Her pupils are dilated, their lids still heavy with need. Your hold is gentle and yet purposely firm as you push and pull you both until you're sitting upright in the center of the bed, her knees flanking your hips and the tangled sheets tossed haphazardly around you.

She's laid down her weapons for you, it's only fair you set aside your armor and thrown all caution to the wind. There's nothing more she needs to wonder after. You'll soon revile the greatest secret you've ever kept, and you'll do so without pressure or pretense.

The only similarity between this moment and any other you've share is that you could ask anything of her and she'd willingly follow you.

It's with that certainty in mind that you make a promise to yourself, to always put her first and never push her aside. She loves you, always has and as she's pointed out, you've probably always known. She deserves more than the deception you've been conditioned to offer and it's in this moment that you fully understand how much more you're truly capable of.

Her fingers find your face and allow the tips to settle along your hairline. Her eyelids lower as her hold on you tightens. You know she's acting on the passion still swimming through her veins. She's dragging you under for the second time tonight and you find yourself fighting to resurface before the tide of desire takes you under for good.

You finally find the strength to pull back and hold her still, the space between you only great enough to allow you to meet her eyes.

"Lisbon,"

Her eyes focus then, they take in every inch of your face and she smiles softly as she brushes your lips with the pad of a thumb. She's relaxed and content and so very, very beautiful.

"I love you. You couldn't begin to know how much." Her smile widens and her eyes fill. She bobs her head in acceptance and kisses you so soft and sweet you feel as if your chest might burst under the pressure of so much emotion.

She leaves the bed only long enough to shut the light so that all that remains is the gentle silvery glow of the moon peaking through the blinds. She's reaching for you the moment she's back beneath the sheets. Her hands are gentle and persuasive all at once but you do not relinquish control this time. There's a need in you to worship every inch of her and you cannot fulfill it if she drives you to the point of insanity before you've so much as made an attempt. You lay her back along the pillows gently and take hold of her hands and bring them together above her head.

"Don't move." You tell her, your voice a whispering plea but your eyes are hard set and firm.

She yields and you're grateful.

XxXxXxXxX

It takes you a moment to realize it's the sun that wakes you. It's been too long since the golden rays have risen before you.

He's out cold beside you, or more like beneath you. He's still deep within the realms of sleep where only dreams can reach him. You keep your movements to a minimum in hopes of allowing him to take advantage of everyone of his missed opportunities.

He looks relaxed, almost peaceful, an archangel whose wings have finally been released, who has finally fulfilled every agonizing endeavor cast before him in order to set free innocent souls.

As you slip from the room you take his shirt with you, you know it's cliché when you're surrounded by your own things but there's something subtly sexy in knowing your own smell will be left behind to mingle with his and invaded his scenes as long as he wears it.

And if you find yourself inhaling too deeply with the collar pressed along your nose, well then that's okay too.

You close the door softly behind you and head for the kitchen. There's a mirror in the hall and when you pass it you cringe slightly, you pull and shove your unruly hair until it's tied somewhat securely at your neck. He wasn't kidding when he said he liked it wild.

You put your coffee on out of habit and fill the kettle while your stomach takes a dive for your toes.

You're making tea for Patrick Jane while he sleeps in your bed. You've just spent the better part of the night not sleeping and now you're barefoot in your kitchen watching the kettle warm and debating whether or not to make him eggs.

You smile and burry your face into the collar of his shirt again, you turn for the fridge and catch sight of him lounging in the doorway. His eyes are heavy with sleep and his hair is wild from your own hands, he's thrown his slacks on but hasn't bothered with the button.

You're caught red handed and you feel the blush rise to the tips of your ears.

"I've been looking for that." His voice is husky with sleep and the gravely sound turns your joints to jelly. He's gesturing for his shirt as he approaches you the smile on his face sets your heart racing.

"It's not polite to take what isn't yours without asking." He's reached you now and pulls you close enough to begin to slowly work the buttons free. "I woke up and you were gone." His lips graze your ear as the third button is slipped open.

"I thought you might be hungry." The words come out on a sigh; you don't even recognize your own voice.

The kettle shrills behind you emphasizing your confession.

He tugs the shirt front, pulling you with him. He takes the tea pot off the heat as you pass the stove and lifts you off the floor. His mouth finds your skin as his shirt slips from your shoulders.

"I am. Come back to bed." Your response begins as a laugh and ends as a moan as his teeth find purchase along your shoulder.

He tosses you rather unceremoniously back on the bed, the pillows and sheets shift as you land. You laugh out right and it startles you both.

It's in that instant, when your eyes meet across the sun glossed room amongst the rumpled bed and scattered clothes, that you realize you never felt this free, this wanted, this loved, ever.

You feel solid and sure, you know as long as you're together you can withstand anything, and for the first time in too many years to count you can be sure of what your future holds.