He looked across the pond to the celebration that was taking place without them, but in their honor. As he sat silently next to Lisbon, he wondered at the difference a dozen years made. Twelve years ago, he had been alone, less than alone if there was such a thing, and shattered beyond recognition or repair, or so he had believed at the time.
Now, as he looked down at the new ring on his hand, then back over at the wild dancing across the water, he considered the found family he had acquired over the years, so many oddly intersecting ripples. He now had people who actually cared about him, most had taken the chance on numerous occasions to sacrifice everything for him. Somehow they had believed that one day his better angels would finally triumph over his brokenness even on those days when he wasn’t so sure, and by some miracle, though he didn’t have much use for the concept, they had mostly happily survived, more or less.
“How do you feel?” He asked her quietly. He wasn’t sure why he asked, he just wanted to be sure of her, sure that they really were there together.
“I’m so happy.” He glanced over at her and saw the truth of her words. He couldn’t ever remember seeing her guard down as he had today, and he wondered how long they could live like this, without secrets between them. He wanted to swear to her that he would never keep anything from her again, but he didn’t want to make her promises he wasn’t sure he could keep. “What about you?”
“Me too,” and again he looked back over at the people he loved, and he found he was surprised. He was happy, and not afraid of it anymore. He knew whatever happened next, he, they would be okay. He wasn’t sure why he knew that, he just did.
“I have something I need to tell you.” He started at the tone of her voice. In the past he had been the one with all the secrets, this time - she was smiling that secret smile that women sometimes carried, he had seen once it before, and then he followed her downward gaze to her hand that had settled over her abdomen, and it confirmed what he had suspected.
“You have to be kidding me!” He blurted out with a grin, then wondered how he hadn’t imploded from the sheer joy that rushed through him. “You are.”
She smiled at him and nodded. “I am.”
“You are. Lisbon.” Not for the first time that day, he found himself speechless by the love he saw in her eyes, love for him, as imperfect and as damaged as he knew himself to be, she had found something in him worth loving. Kristina Frye had known. She had known that even back then, his heart already belonged to another, even though he couldn’t admit it to himself. He had been afraid to let himself hope, against the odds that somehow they would one day find some happiness together.
He bit his lip, then smiled at her, even as he felt the tears springing to his eyes, and he wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. He looked up at the clear night sky, and started naming the constellations he could see, in alphabetical order. He laughed when she pulled away from him and punched him playfully on the shoulder, then settled back against his chest and pointed at the sky.
“That one. Tell me about that one.”
“Those five that form a ‘w’?”
“Hmm.” She sighed happily as he pulled her tighter against him, and felt his breath at her ear.
“Queen of Ethiopia, mother of Andromeda, she ended up in the sky for pissing off Poseidon,” Lisbon murmured with a chuckle.
“You never cease to amaze me, Lisbon.”
“Oh yeah?” She asked, then turned to face him. “You’re amazed that I remember a little mythology from twenty years ago?”
“No. Yes. No. It’s just you are a miracle, my own personal miracle. I know. I don’t believe in them the way you do, but I’ve realized that the day I met you was the day my life started again, and it just occurred to me today.”
“That I’m a miracle?”
He nodded at her as she smiled at him, then kissed him softly, and as she turned back to face the pond, his arms draped around her, and pulled her close again, she murmured lightly, "you’ve always been mine, Jane. Always.”