DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. Dollhouse belongs to Joss Whedon and Fox. No infringement intended.
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The Darkest Hour
By Demeter


Lindsay doesn't think much of it at first when Ashe calls her to tell her she's going to send a fax but when the machine spits out sheet after sheet, and she starts to read what's printed on them, the world around her vanishes.

Dusk bleeds into night when all pages have come through, the print getting paler. She forgets to eat and when, after awhile, the pressing weight on her chest makes her light-headed, Lindsay realizes that it doesn't come from the sorrow but simply holding her breath for too long.

She didn't really expect Ashe to come through with anything, but the fact that he has means that he must believe it's real, too.

Just like Cindy to stir up a hornet's nest like this and yet the thought of Cindy anywhere near these people is unbearable.

They steal souls. It's their business. In fact, they create empty shells to be filled with whatever fantasy their high-bidding clients can come up with; human trafficking on a new, horrible level. Lindsay wishes she wouldn't have any idea of the places those people would send a young, attractive woman like Cindy but she does. She has way too much of them haunting her.

All of this is vague; there are code names, no real hints of where the Dollhouse is, who they people running it and their clients, are. The only real connection is Agent Ballard and the missing woman he was after, and they can't ask either of them.

With each day going by, another day in hell for the woman she loves – and herself.

Picking up the last pages of the dossier, Lindsay thinks of the other Cindy who is now working for The Register, the one she feels guiltily but strangely attracted to. Cindy who is coming over for dinner tonight.

What the hell is she doing?

Uneasy with the thought, she keeps reading until the last page that shows a bad qualitiy rendition of the missing woman's photograph, Caroline, her 'active' name, Echo.

It's when she knows they have taken more from her than she could have ever thought.

The world is shifting.

She doesn't know enough about their technology, yes, hell, does anyone? But Lindsay is sure of one thing, if they have taken one person's personality to imprint it on another one, the original person can never be the same. Which is, if she is still alive.

She is not starting to cry or throw things like part of her wants to. Calmly, she gets up and gathers the papers, stuffing them into a folder. It's not just Cindy who got too close.

When Echo arrives, Lindsay opens the door to her. They greet each other like friends, but there is something else between the lines. Of course there is.

It is Cindy, after all.

When she pushes her against the wall lightly, kissing her, there is no hesitation and no resistance. Hands pull her closer to deepen the kiss.

Lindsay knows she will hate herself soon enough, but she wants, needs to pretend just this once.

She is losing herself just a little bit more.

The End

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