Author's note: this story takes place after third season's finale - assuming that the man Jane killed was the real Red John. I want to thank klcarr892 for the lovely wallpaper which provided the inspiration for this story.
Holding on and letting go
Slowly he opened his eyes. He was lying on a pebble beach, apparently – the waves crashing loudly against the rocks.
How did he get there? He had no recollection of that.
Leaning on his elbow he looked around. The place felt strangely familiar – as if he had been there before.
San Felix Island. That was it. The same shore where he had thrown that flower into the sea.
It didn't explain why he was there though.
He started at the feeling of a small hand on his shoulder. Holding his breath he turned his face towards it.
His gaze met a pair of blue eyes – the carbon copy of his own, as a matter of fact.
The little girl tilted her head to one side – as she was wont to do – and gave him a gentle smile.
He couldn't help noticing that there was a flower in her hair. The same flower he had watched as it floated on the ocean – slowly drifting away among the waves.
"Is this really happening? Or am I just dreaming?"
His daughter sat down next to him. "Does it really matter?"
"No", he acknowledged a moment later. If this was a dream, he'd rather keep on dreaming.
He buried his fingers in her golden curls. "I've missed you, honey".
"Me too, daddy. Me too".
As she snuggled into his side, his mind provided a somewhat likely explanation.
"I'm dead. That's why I'm here".
Charlotte's eyes suddenly went very serious. "Not yet".
That answer slightly puzzled him. "What do you mean?"
"You don't remember what happened, do you?"
A long pause followed. He could see sadness clouding that lovely face.
"The sleeping pills you keep in your nightstand. You took too many of them".
He felt a pang of guilt seizing his chest. His daughter had seen him trying to take his own life. That… that shouldn't have happened. Never.
"I'm sorry, darling. I…"
She silenced him placing her slender fingers on his lips.
"You have to be brave, daddy. I want you to go on living. I want you to be happy again".
Tears began trickling down his cheeks. "How can I do that? My foolish words had you and your mother killed. I thought that avenging your death would finally give me peace. I found out that it didn't".
Charlotte's lips – as soft as a rose petal – brushed lightly on his cheek.
"Do it for me, daddy. Will you?"
"I'd rather stay here with you".
She traced his jaw with her fingertips. "You can't".
"Well, if I die…"
"Don't even mention that".
He held her tightly against his chest. "Why should I go on living? There's nothing left for me".
"She needs you. You can't forsake her".
"What are you talking about?"
"Your friend Teresa needs you, daddy. You have to take care of her – and she will be more than happy to take care of you".
He chuckled at that. "Are you trying to mother me, Charlie?"
Her eyes sparkled with a smile. "You've always needed that".
"I'm not going to see you again if I wake up, correct?"
"No", the little girl admitted. "But I'll always be with you. Remember that".
"Okay", he whispered against her hair.
The shore was already starting to fade away, though he still tried to hold on to his daughter.
"Just let me go, daddy".
That was the last time he heard her voice – a moment before it was replaced by another now more familiar voice calling his name.
It was exactly three years later when Jane went back to San Felix Island. He stood on the shore holding in his arms Charlotte's little brother, while his wife threw a bunch of white daisies into the sea.