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Ashes And Fire
By Demeter


Behind his desk, Tom leans back in his chair and gives her a regretful look. "Linds, you heard what Ashe said. There is no hard proof that Cindy's case is in any way related to her story."

"Hell, would you think like a cop for a minute, what else could it be related to? There are other missing persons cases. The agent who was on the case, Ballard, has disappeared. You're saying there's no relation?"

"Obviously none that anybody could prove so far," Tom reminds her. "If there was, it could be bigger than she knew. You'd have to be careful not to step on anybody's toes."

Sometimes she hates this politician side of him. "Which means I should just let it go because someone's feathers could be ruffled? Come on, Tom... You don't mean that!"

"I agree that all of this is suspicious," he says. Lindsay's relief is short-lived though when he adds, "There's another explanation."

"That would be?" She is at the end of her patience. Ashe giving her a load of – nothing – Cindy's boss replacing her; she just doesn't know how much more she can take.

Leave it to Tom Hogan, the man she once loved, to deliver the killing blow. "Have you ever thought of the possibility that Cindy doesn't want to be found?"

"What?" Lindsay jumps to her feet. "You're crazy!"

"I know this sounds bad, but-"

"Then don't say it, I'm warning you, Tom. This is ridiculous. We bought a God damn house!"

She can tell from his look, slightly chastised but surprised, that he didn't know. They are pretty good most of the time, friends, ex-spouses, working together, being all professional. They don't talk about their private lives much.

"If you think Cindy would do that to me, then you know nothing about her. Unless you think that people have a general habit of walking out on me?" she challenges him.

He drops his gaze to his desk, the stack of files and the photograph that shows him with Heather holding a baby, the two of them grinning happily. "I'm sorry."

"Yeah. You should be."

Lindsay steals a glance at the picture just when he's looking up at her.

She realizes with some surprise on her own that this certain pain isn't there anymore; it left quietly without saying goodbye. With Cindy, everything seemed possible, there was no time to dwell on the misgivings on the past.

"I'm sorry," Tom says again and she nods, knowing that this time he really got it. "We can work something out about your hours. You still have enough overtime as it is."

"Thank you." It's kind of funny that she wants to hug him when just a minute ago, she was tempted to throw something at him. Come to think of it, nothing much has changed about their relationship. Lindsay smiles, a long forgotten sensation.

"I'll bring her home," she promises.

This time, Tom lets her words stand in the room as if acknowledging their truth.

The End

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