DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Misty Flores


"Okay. I know you're angry. I also know you said not to go in there alone. But... you see - I had this amazing lead and I left you that message and you weren't coming and there wasn't really time-"

Cindy Thomas knew things had gotten slightly out of hand when instead of threatening to charge her with the usual obstruction; Inspector Boxer grabbed hold of her wrist, twisted it behind her back, and slapped a cuff against it.

"Um. Ouch?" Stiffening, Cindy tried to look over her shoulder, and was immediately forced back into place when Lindsay yanked again.

"Lindsay...Linds?" A palm landed against her mouth, effectively trapping her mouth.

"You have the right to remain silent," came the thick, angry voice, as Cindy felt the brush of lips and hot breath against the outer lobe of her ear. Her eyes shut tight in reaction. "In other words, shut up. For once."

The hand lifted, but the warmth of Lindsay was still there, pressed in behind her, sandwiching her sore arms between the top of her ass and the front of Linday's ... er... private area.

Raggedly, Cindy swallowed down the lump in her throat.

"You're seriously not arresting me again, are you?"

Her response was a crushing grip of fingers digging painfully into her elbow, and Lindsay unceremoniously dragging her to the squad car.

"I can't believe she arrested me again."

On the other side of the jail cell, Jill and Claire both stared at her, like some judging Greek chorus, annoyingly handcuff free.

"You brought this on yourself," Claire answered, pulling a Chips Ahoy! Cookie from a small bag crinkling in her palm, staring at her like she was at a monkey at a zoo. "You know better than to push her buttons. Lindsay isn't all bark. She bites."

Well... she actually knew that.

Blinking at the imagery, Cindy flushed, and focused on trying to shimmy the handcuffs to a less painful position.

"Jill, come on. Talk some sense into her."

"Uh, no." Jill's hands came up, deflecting any sort of attention. "Cindy, you're lucky she didn't shoot you herself. You could have been killed."

Eyes rolling up to the ceiling, Cindy slumped. "Not... really."

"Yes, really."

Mouth clamping shut, Cindy's head jerked in the direction of the angry voice, and yep, there she was, in her god-damned leather jacket and her tight jeans and her seriously furious face.

Why the hell was Lindsay wanting to murder her so freaking hot?

"I seriously think this is an abuse of your badge," she answered. Inspector Boxer (Cindy liked to think of Lindsay that way, it was hotter), moved in front of Jill and Claire to give her that look again.

The one that made her squirmy.

"I seriously think I'm completely within my rights to arrest someone who was specifically ordered to stay away from a crime scene."

"And that's a charge?"

"Obstruction of justice," Jill answered smugly, and Cindy felt the urge to stick her tongue out at her. "And that's just at the top of my head."

Shoulders slumping, Cindy managed her best puppy dog eyes to the one person who might give her a bit of compassion.

Claire, however, just chewed on her cookie and shook her head, wide-eyed. "Cindy, when my children misbehave, I punish them. For their own good. Now, I love you like a daughter. We all do."

Cindy was grateful, at least, that she, Lindsay and Jill, all made equally disgusted faces.

"Speak for yourself," Lindsay sniffed.

Claire rolled her eyes, and then glanced at her watch, making a surprised noise behind her chewing. "Oh - got a meeting. Gotta go."

"Yeah, I should go update Denise," Jill said, turning on her heel.

Springing to her feet, Cindy reached for the bars. "Guys! Come on! Don't leave me with her!"

Arms crossed, feet set apart in a military stance, Lindsay's expression only darkened.

"You dug your own grave, Girlie," Claire replied over her shoulder, voice going sotto.

Jill only offered a parting wave. "Be good or she won't give you dinner."

Her forehead fell against a bar. "Jill's enjoying this way too much."

Inches away, Inspector Boxer stayed silent.

Unable to shake her innate curiosity as to what the other woman was thinking, Cindy glanced up, discovering chocolate brown eyes boring into hers with an alarming intensity.

"If I tell you to do something, you do it. If I tell you NOT to do something, you don't do it. What, exactly, is so hard to understand about that?"

"I'm not dead," she pointed out. "And you wouldn't have caught him if I hadn't called you."

Fingers grabbed hold of hers, pinning her to the bars. Startled, Cindy froze.

"What the hell would it have mattered if you were dead?!" Lindsay spat, and then left her there, storming through the bullpen, kicking out in a fit of anger at a wastebasket, sending it toppling over.

Jacobi finally took pity on her two hours later, coming forward with that bewildered, resigned look on his face.

"Stop giving her a reason to arrest you," was his only response, which seemed to translate into 'Stop being stupid and pissing her off.'

Cindy wasn't stupid, but yes, she did do stupid things.

She didn't consider stepping into a drug den to try and get a source and possibly save Lindsay's career one of them.

Drunkenly seducing a friend on the night the ex-husband she was still desperately in love with was marrying someone else, because she was randomly assigned by Jill to distract her? Stupid.

Stammering out that it was a mistake the next morning because Cindy saw the fear in her eyes and could see she wanted nothing more than to bolt? Smart. At least she thought it was at the time.

Morphing from intense fascination and hero-worship to head-over-heels amour for the woman who could very easily break her heart, all the while pretending she felt nothing because Lindsay was clearly not over Tom and to her the one night stand was a mistake she'd rather forget? Really stupid.

Landing on her doorstep in some pathetic gesture of hope because she'd twisted Lindsay arresting her into some unspoken admission of love?

The most idiotic thing she had ever done.

She knew better than to go inside, because there was such a thing as being pushed too far, and Lindsay was already clearly at a breaking point. Instead, she sat on the porch, feeling the pizza grow cold on her lap and freezing her butt off, until Lindsay turned on to her driveway with Martha beside her.

Feeling more nervous than she had ever remembered being in Lindsay's presence (and that was saying something), Cindy pushed her drooping glasses up her nose and said to her silent friend, "You can't keep arresting me when I piss you off. This is my second strike. I'm too small and weak to go to the Real People Jail."

Lindsay exhaled, clearly struggling with her own need to still be annoyed. "Then maybe you should stop pissing me off. Because if you pull a stunt like that again? I'm sending you to jail."

As she came forward, Cindy glanced down at her pizza box, outlining the letters of the store design etched across the front. "I was only trying to help."

Maybe her sincerity finally came through, because she heard another sigh, and then she felt the soft muzzle of Martha pushed underneath her palm and the brush of leather against her arm, as Lindsay settled in beside her.

"I know you were."

The crickets were beginning to chirp.

"You know how much you want to catch the Kiss-Me-Not killer?" she said into the darkness, rubbing at Martha's head, keeping her from the pizza box. "That's how much I want to help you. You can't ask me to stay away when I know I can help. You don't tell Claire and Jill to stay away-"

"They are government officials! They don't go running like idiots into dangerous situations-"

"And that's why you need me! I can get into places you can't!"

"No - that's not why I need-" the words choked in Lindsay's throat, and Cindy blinked, as her friend nearly growled and bit off the end of that word. "Listen, Cindy. You're a good reporter. And you help me a lot. But I got by for a long time without your help."

The pizza was cold. Numb, Cindy reached into the box and gave Martha a slice. "So you're saying you don't need me."

A hand gripped her wrist, forcing her still, as another set of fingers reached forward, and skimmed against her chin, gently bringing her to focus on Lindsay's face. "No," her friend answered. "That's not WHY I need you."

Staring into a beautiful face, and an expression that Cindy was finally allowed to really see and understand, she was suddenly light-headed, dizzy with relief. "Oh."

"So... please. PLEASE," Lindsay continued, voice nothing more than soft rasp, grinding the plea between her teeth, "Listen to me when I tell you to be careful and stay out of dangerous situations."

Cindy wouldn't promise that. She could promise to be careful. She could promise to try to stay out of dangerous situations. She could promise to sit on her hands and to never leave without a can or mace or a tazer, and hell, she would try to do all those things -

But she would also do anything she could to protect Lindsay, even at the risk to herself.

People who were insanely in love did that.

Getting arrested for their trouble was just a drawback Cindy would have to learn to live with.

"If I kiss you, will you cuff me?"

The question was said breathlessly, with an obsessively intense look at Lindsay's mouth, and Cindy felt the fingers against her chin tremble when she heard a ragged chuckle.

"Only if you want it kinky."

It was an interesting thought.

Surging forward, she opened her mouth against the other woman's, and felt the jolt of desire that came with instant reciprocation, the taste of a tongue sliding eagerly against hers, the feel of fingers slipping underneath her jacket and wrapping around her torso with bruising intensity.

Heart pounding, she sucked in a lungful of air, forehead tilting against Lindsay's, unable to fight the giddy smirk that landed on her lips.

"Wanna go inside?"

The fingers currently buried in the nape of her neck stilled. "Are you going to blame it on the cold pizza this time?"

"Actually, I was going to blame it on the cuffs."

"Oh, so now you're for the cuffs?"

"In a controlled environment... like say a bed," she reasoned. "And a safety word."

They must have looked silly, huddled together so intimately on a porch, the large pizza box almost dwarfing Cindy. She didn't care.

Lindsay was looking at her with open amusement. "What's the safety word?"

"I think you should pick it," Cindy whispered, and pressed a kiss to the corner of Lindsay's mouth, fingers inching around Lindsay's waist for the metal rings. "You'll be wearing the cuffs."

The End

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