My first ever submission for the Feb Jello Forever Challenge 2011. I was in a fanficky mood. Thanks to thefirstaider and shunkickshunkers who were keeping me entertained during my moments of writers block and brain deadity. Prompt: Candlelight Flame.


The priest closed his holy book and made his way down from the podium. The room was filled with bowed heads and tear soaked faces that belonged to people who came to say farewell to a recent victim of a hit and run. The victim being a childhood friend of CBI Agent Teresa Lisbon who had grown up to be a flight attendant; meaning the two drifted apart.

The day Lisbon opened the letter in the mail stating she was invited to a funeral; she had prayed that it wasn't one of her brothers, especially the ones she had been distant with. When she read the bold text that told her all she needed to know, she let a stray tear slide down her pale face. Her mistake was walking out of her office before reading it so she was currently standing the middle of the bull pen. Her three agents had gone home but through her teary eyes, she could make out the rough shape of her consultant who was 'sleeping' on his couch. She questioned if he really was psychic because the moment the first tear rolled of her face and hit the paper, Jane was on his feet and walking towards her. He said nothing but brought her into a hug. Lisbon's knees buckled and Jane cradled her as they sat in an awkward position on the ground.

"When is it?" He asked.

"I don't know," her hoarse voice replied. He gently removed his boss's fingers from the paper and silently read. He did not recognize the name but it was someone close enough to leave Lisbon in this state.

"Alright, let me bring you home."

Lisbon wiped her eyes again. She recognized some of the people around her. The man who stood in the front row was the victim's younger brother. Lisbon remembered him telling her once that they also had an elder brother but he died before they were sent into the system. Now he was alone. The mourners moved outside and followed the six men who carried the coffin down the aisle. She was going to be buried and hidden under piles of dirt. The very thought of it brought back memories of her own mothers burial.

Tommy, the youngest had his little fists tightly wound around his big sisters dress. He was too young to understand that his mother was never going to come home. How she would never tell him a bed time story or break up a pointless fight amongst her elder children ever again. That was the day Lisbon received her cross from a close friend of her mothers. She had never been religious before but she accepted it. She said one last teary goodbye to her mother, she did not know she was saying goodbye to everything she knew. She never took her cross off after that. It was the only thing she had left, her faith in God.

After the service, Lisbon drove and drove. She knew it was reckless, driving in the state she was in and could easily cause an accident but today was the exception. She had to get to her destination before it got too late and she would have to turn back. She was completely unaware of the blue car that was trailing her a couple hundred meters back.

Jane had no idea where Lisbon was going but the minute she drove straight past her turn off that would lead back to Sacramento, he knew something was wrong. He followed her, far enough that she wouldn't see him but close enough that he wouldn't lose her. She hadn't called anyone about what had happened. None of her brothers turned up at the funeral and he knew Saint Teresa wouldn't want to bother her team members on their day off. They were now in a secluded part of California. There were more trees here and less buildings. It was getting quite dark and he was worried for a moment that she was lost. She was going down a dusty path and had her head lights on. Then she stopped, parked the car and got out. Jane parked several meters away and carefully made his way towards her.

"It's not fair. We made a promise all those years ago. We would get out of there and make something of ourselves. We would escape that world. Then I find out you did, like I had. But you just die on me. Why did you do that? How could you leave me here?" Lisbon said rather loudly. Jane made it through the clearing and found himself near a lake. The moon had risen and was dancing on Lisbon's features. The tears were gone now, red eyes and anger replaced them. Jane had never seen her like this before. Where was the calm and reserved woman he had learnt to love and care about? Who was this irrational, emotional wreck before him? Was she yelling at her lost friend or her mother?

"Teresa?" He called from the shadows. He fully expected her to jump, march over to him and sock him in the eye. He almost anticipated the impact when the mindless shouting ceased and the outline of his friend froze.

"Jane? What do you want?"

"Just making sure you're okay," he put simply like it was the most obviously answer in the world.

"You don't need to be here," she told him.

"I followed you to the church, your friend…died…the same way your mother did and I knew this would hit you hard," Jane said calmly.

"She was the only one I could talk to all those years ago. I told her that we would find each other again one day. I promised her Jane and I broke that promise," Lisbon said, her voice rising.

"That's not your fault. It's that murderous bastard who is probably still out there thinking he's done nothing wrong," Jane said.

"I just can't help but feel like I failed her. I never once bothered to contact her. I only found out things about her because she emailed me almost five years ago. I was too busy to accept a coffee invitation," Lisbon said, her voice filled with self hatred. Jane moved closer to her and he was glad she didn't take a step backwards. She welcomed the second hug in the past week and let her head rest on his chest.

"So why did you come here?"

"We use to escape here on Sunday's. It was a place where we could have some time away from the boys. It was our favorite place. I told her once that if we were to find each other, it would be here that we would meet again." Jane looked around. Despite the late hours, the moon reflected in the deep blue water and the trees that surrounded them were a mossy green. A Canon moment.

"What do you have in your pocket?" Jane asked.

"Nothing it's stupid." Lisbon said quickly. Jane reached down and withdrew a small circular candle and a box of matches.

"What were you planning to do?"

"It doesn't matter. She's dead and there's nothing I can do about it." Lisbon said dejectedly. Jane ran back to his car and retrieved a juice carton from the back seat. He knew it was unsanitary but it was one of the things he never bothered moving after his daughter had once abandoned it on the bottom of his car. He then went to Lisbon's unlocked car and borrowed the knife she kept under the front passenger seat. He sliced the carton in half and returned to the CBI agent.

"What are you doing?"

"Hey, it's a chance to say goodbye," Jane said with a grin.

"I thought you already said goodbye, I certainly did," Lisbon said, trying to understand his reasoning. Jane ignored her and lit a match. He cradled the flame as he lit the wick. He placed it in the halved drink carton and brought Lisbon's small hands up to join his own which were gently holding the candle boat.

"I promise you Lisbon, you will see her again someday. Have some heavenly coffee in a heavenly coffee shop," Jane said.

"I thought you weren't religious," Lisbon said bluntly.

"I'm not, but you are."

"You don't have to pretend for me that there is an afterlife. I already believe that there is one."

"Then you have nothing to worry about." The pair bent over and placed the boat into the lake and gently pushed it off in the opposite direction.

"Flame means fire and fire means life. I find it strange that people use candles to signify the dead," Lisbon said as they watched the flame dance over the water.

"They don't. The flame represents the living they left behind," Jane said as his blue eyes became glassy as he realized the truth of his words. Tonight he came out to comfort his friend, not get his broken heart stamped on with the feeling of loss love.

"You know sometimes I envy them. It's like they took the easy way out. I bet heaven doesn't have all this crap that goes on down here," Lisbon said, trying to lighten the tension.

"I'm betting they're laughing at us right now as they drink their coffee and boxed apple juice," Jane added.

The candle drifted down stream, bumping into mossy rocks and occasionally getting caught in stray twigs. As the water beat around the water logged cardboard, the flame continued to light up the Sunday evening sky. The candle soon reached its turbulent end as it toppled over a small waterfall. In the distance, two people drove away, the pain in their hearts becoming a distant memory. The candles flame wasn't a reminder that they were alive and their loved ones weren't. The spark of light was to help them remember that there was always hope.