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.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Beta'd by Lyn
The door closes behind me with a soft sound, and I lean against it wearily. First day back on the job - I don't really know what was more exhausting; facing the dead body of a young woman dumped in garbage, or the fact that everybody thinks they need to wrap me in cotton.
Jacobi seemed to be the only one to get it.
Hey, that's me! I am not a hero, but I am not fragile either. Hunting down the man who sewed his victims' mouths shut, because he felt entitled, was part of my job. I do this for a living, right? I don't want praise nor sympathy. Life goes on.
Walking further inside, I stop cold at the sight in front of me.
Cindy sits on the floor in the middle of my living room, lotus-style, her eyes closed, a half circle of tea candles around her. They smell faintly of vanilla.
The scenery is so unexpectedly peaceful, beautiful, it takes a big chunk of the weight I've still carried with me, off me. She does that so easily.
"Look who's burning down the house," I say, and she smiles and stretches before opening her eyes.
"No danger. This isn't the first time I've done this, and there's always your watchdog."
"Right." I chuckle at the sight of Martha who's been sleeping soundly on the couch and now hurries to my side to give me an enthusiastic welcome, almost knocking over the tiny candles. "Easy, girl."
Cindy watches us interestedly. "You know, I am happy to see you, too."
I reach out a hand, taking hers in mine and pulling her up, close, into my arms. A perfect fit. Touching her, breathing her in, a soft kiss to her neck that makes her shiver, then I bury both hands in her hair, claiming her mouth. Funny how she takes my breath away, but I can breathe easier around her at the same time.
"So what's with the meditation?" I ask.
Cindy blushes a little, lowering her gaze to the floor. "You're going to think it's pretty silly."
"Okay. I've been doing this on and off for a few years. It's relaxing, obviously, but today I was just... thankful," she mumbles. "And I felt like I had to show it to the universe. Because I knew you'd be coming home today."
I get now where she is going with this. "It was an accepted risk," I tell her, the words sounding rather hollow to me. "We knew he was dangerous." And talking about being grateful... I am. Because he was really after me, not any of my friends. Not you.
She looks up at me, a single tear running down her cheek, and I reach out to wipe it away with my thumb. "Try not to think too much about it. It's what I do."
"I can't. I can't lose you."
I kiss her again, softly now, running my hands down her arms, and then under her shirt. Careful, questioning.
"There's nothing silly about knowing when you've been lucky." We were. Kiss Me Not was a particularly sadistic son of a bitch, but in the end, we defeated him. We made it stop. I'd say that makes all the costs involved worth paying.
I slip my hands past the waistband of her pants, her skin warming rapidly under my touch.
Time to let him go. Forever. This, he couldn't take away from me.
"Would it be okay for the universe if I showed my gratitude by worshipping your body?" I whisper, a beautiful smile lighting up her face in answer.
I'll take that as a 'yes'.
In the bedroom, Cindy lights another half circle of candles, we're taking our time, lying silently in each other's arms, before it's time to celebrate life.
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