Jane walked into the unlit bullpen.
It was late, and he was very tired.
The worn leather couch did not draw him as he had expected. He suddently felt terribly alone.
Tonight the CBI had claimed a major victory, one that was very personal for Agent Lisbon's team. So personal that case-closed-pizza would not be on their agenda.
Jane was enveloped in a shroud of fog.
A decade ago, he had begun to recover his stricken energies by feeding the only surviving emotions he acknowledged: guilt and rage. Their fight to rule his spirit had shifted his focus, from the emptiness he'd struggled to tolerate to an uncompromising drive toward vigilante justice.
Tonight he had acheived that justice for Angela and Charlotte, and for so many others before and after them.
Red John would never harm another soul again. The bastard was good and dead; Jane had made good on his vow.
In the end, things had happened so quickly that he barely had time for reflection on a personal level. He did not feel the emptiness at first.
Though he stayed to answer all the necessary questions, he experienced them as if he were living on another plane.
As he drifted away from that final scene in the darkness of early morning, a quietness settled over him. A numbness, not unpleasant, carried him to his car unnoticed. He pulled away almost immediately. No squealing tires or boastful engine announced his departure.
He navigated on autopilot. His body hadn't caught up yet - it was still Ready, as if he had not ceased moving toward his all-consuming goal. Physiologically, he'd grown accustomed to a sense of urgency that had pervaded his consciousness over the years he'd been seeking his revenge. He had never allowed himself to relax under the surface. Not even while sleeping. He hadn't slept soundly in ten years.
He shook his head to clear the fog, and found he was completely exhausted. It seemed almost funny, or maybe he was delirious. Red John was dead. Jane had finally killed him; it seemed incredible that the next thing he wanted to do was to take an eight-hour nap. He might have chuckled at the absurdity of it all, but he wouldn't remember if he had.
As his wristwatch read 3:30a.m., the hollow feeling descended. It was not heavy enough to identify yet; but Jane found a sudden aversion to his usual motel room. Its atmosphere was too transient. He drove past the motel and the car moved along another familiar route.
By the time he parked at the CBI office, his adrenaline was running on fumes.
He walked into the unlit bullpen.
He had a fleeting thought about pizza, but not because he was hungry.
Still, he craved... something. He was almost overwhelmingly tired.
He groaned longingly at the thought of his couch. When his eyes found it in the dark room, he was seized by an aching loneliness. He came close enough to sit on the leather cushions but stood there dumbly, utterly lost.
The hollow feeling was an echo, a remnant of the emptiness whose violent birth had brought him to this place.
He sighed heavily, then looked up sharply at the whirr of the elevator. There were plently of insomniacs working in law enforcement, but he didn't feel like conversing with any of them. Except...
Familiar footsteps rounded the corner. They sounded as weary as he felt.
She paused where he had stood minutes before, turning toward the couch and allowing her eyes to adjust to the darkness.
"Patrick?" her voice was hoarse, raw with emotion and fatigue.
Jane crossed the room and pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her and burying his face in her hair. She held him just as tightly, just as desperate to be assured of him, and began to sob.
"Oh, Jane! I just- " He had been through so much, she was at a loss for words.
"I know, Teresa. I know." He gathered her even closer. "Thank you."
"For what?" she stammered.
Lisbon shook her head and broke away slightly, wiping at her eyes. Jane smiled and brushed the tears from her face. Clutching at his sleeves, she rose up impulsively and kissed him softly on the mouth.
He blinked in surprise, and then warmly reciprocated the offering. For several long moments they stood rooted to the spot, taking comfort in one another. Lisbon drew back and laid a hand on his face.
"Come on, let's go. You're not sleeping here tonight." He searched her face and grinned as she smirked, "My couch is much more comfortable." She took his hand and led him to the elevator.