A/N: Well this is it! My last little bit for this fic. A few months ago I just had a crazy idea for a one shot that morphed into this little world. So sad to see it go but I'm so proud of what it became. Thank you so much you guys for sticking with me!
Eight Months later
Dani had wanted to go out on the beach right away but her parents weren't quite as keen, Jane was busy making sure the hamburgers were grilling to perfection and her mother wasn't keen to leave from her spot in her patio lounge chair. Lisbon smiled at the image of Jane trying to corral their five year old while making sure their dinner didn't burn. Their daughter was too much like him for either one of them to relax about; she always kept them on their toes.
The harsh sunlight winked off of the wedding band on his finger and Lisbon felt that same thrill rush through her every time she saw it, the one that matched the same one on her own hand. Perhaps in bad taste but they didn't care, three months after they agreed to try a life together Jane had suggested they go the whole nine yards and this time she hadn't hesitated. This wedding had been even more speedily planned than her last but this one she'd actually taken the lead on. It had been very simple, on the beach with just their family by blood and by friendship. She remembered watching the waves wash away their footprints thinking of how it was like the waves churning away the painful past.
And change things had, for the better. It wasn't just having Jane to curl up with at night or her daughter having a father who adored her in every possible way. It was feeling like the smiles she had were real, it was coming home and facing each day with true happiness. Even her job seemed better but that was also due to Jane as well.
She wasn't as surprised as he was by what had happened, not when she actually considered the kind of character he had. It was almost laughable really. He'd brought Dani to her office for a surprise lunch and happened to catch sight of a case file open on her desk, not looking at it was never an option with the perpetually nosy Jane. She hadn't noticed until he'd asked her about the case when she went home, questioning her about the suspects and the scene until she jokingly offered if she wanted him to draw a picture for him. When he said yes she'd smacked him.
But he'd showed up the next morning sans their daughter and started urging the team assigned to it to look in a different direction. Before she knew it she'd gotten a call from an irate lawyer threatening to sue for one of Jane's incredible schemes that just so happened to prove a man guilty of murder. She'd yelled at him in her office for an hour and sent him home. Then when she'd gotten home and had to admit that he had been entirely right he had celebrated his genius by bragging incessantly as well as dragging her upstairs to their bed. He wasn't working at the FBI…yet, but he did come by a lot to check out their cases to see if one caught his interest. She had a feeling he would come by even more often when school started in September. Apparently as much as Jane had insisted he wasn't going back to law enforcement, he still loved playing those kinds of games and being the smartest man in the room. Some things didn't ever change.
"Hope you put cheddar cheese and not American on mine," Annie called out as she opened the patio door to let herself out onto the warm tiles. She was wearing her academy shirt and smelled like gunpowder, must have been another firearms test today. Lisbon knew she'd passed; her niece was the best shot in the class thanks to her aunt's insistence on practice. She was thriving now, reminding Lisbon of herself when she'd been working towards becoming a cop herself. She wondered how she hadn't seen it, but Jane had.
"I don't forget something as important as that," he told her with a wink. Annie smiled back at him; they had their own special relationship that usually consisted of sarcastic banter and snarky insults.
To the surprise of everyone, especially Annie, when Jane had moved in he'd become very protective of her, even scaring off more than one of the boys she'd brought over. Lisbon was quite all right with that but she wondered over Jane's behavior. At first she assumed it was because Annie was close to the same age as Charlotte would be. However when she finally asked he told her it wasn't anything like that, rather it was because she reminded him so much of her. He always had to protect her, even if she was the miniature version, which happened to be his niece. That was something that made her fall in love with him even more.
Annie took over the job of watching Dani while Jane focused on putting the "special spices" on the meat. He walked over to take the seat next to hers, stopping to give her a light kiss on her lips before stealing her bottle of beer to take a sip. "What do you have here?" Jane asked, picking up the book in her hand.
"Kate dropped it off today," Lisbon explained, "apparently its coming out in paperback next month."
He raised an eyebrow and looked over the cover. "New afterword by the author. Didn't know you wrote something."
"I didn't," Lisbon said snatching the book out of his hand, "Kate wrote it too, she's the one who did it not me."
Jane grinned. "She couldn't resist could she."
Lisbon shook her head. "I hope you're ready for the attention, the phone calls should start any day now."
He waved a hand. "Meh, let them call, they can call it a happy ending if they want."
"And what do you call it?"
Jane smiled. "Inevitable."
Lisbon liked the sound of that.
He kissed her again before getting back to dinner. She watched him for a moment before picking back up the book to look at it. The cover was exactly the same with the red face and her name underneath the title. The content was the same; the words she wrote years ago were still there. But there was a new addition at the end.
Afterward by Kate Jennings
The monster was dead but life still went on, just not in the way everyone ever intends. When the Red John case finished I immediately wanted to write a book on it but decided I needed something more than yet another retelling of the case. I sought out Teresa Lisbon because I hoped she would give me some new insight into the case, I never expected to gain a true friend along the way.
As she told me her side of the story I realized that there was no way I could write this book without her. Not just because she lived it but because there was more to it than just another case about how a monster was caught. No, the true story was lying underneath it all, hidden by the shadows of revenge and heartache. The story of how a lonely cop with a painful past found and saved a broken man. A love story.
But not all love stories necessarily have happy endings, that isn't how life works. The Red John case isn't any exception; in cases like this there is no such thing as a good ending. It just ends. The victims can't come back and the pain can't be taken away. But life can and does go on. People smile again and find joy in life. It just takes time and perseverance.
Perseverance wasn't something Teresa ever lacked; patience and understanding were something she'd learned very well. And so when Patrick walked away to try and save her she waited once again, waited to see if time could her wounds as well as his. The irony was that wasn't possible without each other.
Life is messy, it's a roller coaster ride of pain and mistakes but things can find a way of working out. People learn that home isn't necessarily brick and mortar but rather the people that make it, and sometimes redemption comes not when you do something selfless but rather when you recognize that there are some people you can't live without.
Over the years we received more mail from people begging to know one question. Whatever happened to Patrick and Teresa? How can two people so close be apart? Well they finally learned the answer to that: they can't.
Without Red John they would never have met, I would have never met them and their daughter would never have been born. Such blessings from such darkness only prove that there is such a thing as happiness, when the past is left behind and looked towards the future. They are happy with their family now and that's the only kind of happy ending that this story ever needed.
Lisbon closed the book with a smile and shook her head. She watched her family frolic together on the patio, the ocean framing the setting perfectly. It was beautiful and as close to perfect as she could have imagined. Kate was right, she was happy, and so was Jane. When they finally learned that moving on could only be done with each other.
Now she didn't spend her days longing for the past…not when tomorrow seemed so much better.
A/N: And with that this fic is done. Thank you so much you guys and I hope you'll stick around for my new stories coming up!