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Shadow Of A Dream
By Demeter


Lindsay had always hated Halloween. Sitting in the ER talking to a mother whose six-year-old had nearly been killed by drugged candy was just one more reason. "We'll find who did this to your daughter," she promised, squeezing the young woman's shoulder gently.

The exhaustion in Sandra Webber's features mirrored her own. "Thank you, Inspector."

The girl, Allie, was quietly sobbing, her fear stemming more from the hospital setting and her mother's terror than she was actually able to understand what had happened.

It was going to be another long night. Next time, she wouldn't be working... tiredly, Lindsay remembered that she'd told herself the same thing last year. It didn't matter. She'd just have nightmares of candy apples with razors in them. Sometimes, she really didn't have a lot of hope in humanity as a whole. This time of the year, all the craziness going on just made it easier for murdering jerks to slip away. Maybe she was jaded. What did it matter anyway?

In the hallway, she met Kelli Rhodes, the new girl in Narcotics who was also on her way out. "Happy Halloween," Lindsay said.

The other woman's lips quirked up in a wry grin as she nodded in understanding. "City's not blown up on us yet by raving zombies, so I guess we're good." She took a deep breath, shaking her head. "Sixteen-year-old, drugged and raped at a dorm party. She's got names, but her memory is sketchy, doesn't look good for a conviction. Can you imagine how much I hate this shit sometimes? Wait, don't answer that."

Sharing war stories on a Sunday night in a hospital lobby. It seemed appropriate, because sometimes, this felt like going to war. Innocent people got caught in the crossfire. God, she needed more coffee. "I could make some calls to someone in the DA's office," Lindsay offered.

Kelli's smile became more genuine. "Getting Bernhardt and Kwon on their asses? You'd make my day and earn my eternal gratitude."

"Now that isn't something I can resist."

"I'm a law-abiding citizen!" the man yelled. "She's the one living on my tax dollars, I ain't gonna pay for this anymore!"

Little Allie had only gone to five houses before she got sick, and one of them had been their next neighbor. He was a bitter man in his fifties who'd been left by his wife, nurturing his hate by taking it out on the people in his vicinity.

At least she didn't have to look at the body of a six-year-old child tonight, though she'd gotten damn close.

"You have the right to shut up," Lindsay told him. "I'd be so glad if you used it."

Lindsay was pretty sure she'd gone past the stage of hallucinating when she looked up to see the worried-looking witch standing at her table, black velvet dress with a plunging neckline, pointed hat sitting somewhat askew on her red locks.

"Linds, are you okay?" The vision spoke.

She looked suspiciously like every fantasy of Cindy Thomas Lindsay had pretended she'd never had.

"I'm fine. Ask me three coffees later, I'll be great."

Smiling, Cindy sat across from her. "Sorry about the outfit, but Jill reached me at a party with friends. I came here right away."

"I don't mind," Lindsay said truthfully, wondering if that was revealing in any way, and deciding that she didn't care. After arresting the vengeful neighbor and keeping her promise to Detective Rhodes, technically her work was done for the day. She could have just gone home and called Jill from there, but some drinks, banter and conspiracy with her friends would really do her some good now. "Looks nice," she added, her carefully venturing forward interrupted by the waitress who'd come to take their orders. Lindsay considered the choices and finally decided on a glass of red wine. Something that would gently remove the clutch of reality and later ease her into a good night's sleep. If she was lucky, there'd be some dreams with a beautiful sorcerer in them.

"Thank you." Cindy blushed slightly, but she didn't look away.

It made Lindsay slightly hopeful, even when Jill and Claire arrived and the spell was momentarily broken.

Or maybe it wasn't.

Maybe tonight fantasy would finally merge with reality, giving Lindsay a reason not to hate Halloween so much after all.

The End

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