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.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Paper Doll
By Demeter


Jill watches Lindsay and Cindy walk into the room, and she can't help but shiver. The way they are holding on to each other's hand calls the image of frightened children to mind. Even if it's just one of them who has been forced into a child-like state. Jill knows that Lindsay is hoping for an easy fix, but she doesn't have good news for them either.

"Hello sweetie," Claire greets her. She hasn't yet been confronted with the full impact of what's been done to Cindy, but her pained look tells Jill she's been realizing it immediately. Here's a girl looking like Cindy, cute and happy as it seems but her striking intelligence and eidetic memory, her very personality, have been locked somewhere inside her brain.

Can they free it? Do they have the right to do so?

"Am I getting an exam?" Cindy asks excitedly. "Just like with Doctor Claire. She's nice."

Claire forces a smile that must physically hurt her; Jill can feel it. She doesn't even dare look at Lindsay. "My name is Claire, too. And I just want to make sure that everything's okay for the big day tomorrow. Can you let me do that?"

Cindy furrows her brow in thought. "I think so," she says hesitantly.

"About that," Jill finally speaks up. "I talked to the one of the DAs handling the case in L.A., and they have been working out an emergency application. Every victim's next of kin will have to give consent for any further treatment."

"That's all right." Lindsay frowns. "We talked, I tried to explain best I could what is going to happen. Cindy wants to be herself again. I'm going to sign that form."

Cindy just listens and smiles. "I want to be my best," she says in a way that makes Jill shiver. It's breaking her heart, but she has to say it. "Linds, you can't."

"Why the hell can't I--" It dawns on her all of a sudden. Jill can't blame her for ignoring reality as long as it was possible; when she was single-mindedly focused on one purpose – finding Cindy. Now that she has, it's Jill's turn to to her job best to help all of them come out of this hell, literally and figuratively.

"Call her mother, explain. I'm sure she trusts your judgment."

Lindsay just gives her a stormy look before she jumps to her feet and leaves the room, door slamming though she won't go far, too pressing the matters they have to discuss.

Jill sighs. Sometimes it sucks to be representing the law when as in this case, it excludes a remarkable number of the population from its protection. It's not like she doesn't think that Cindy's mom wants the best possible treatment for her daughter.

It's just that she can't see anything wrong with Lindsay signing the damn form.

There is a small spark of hope when Cindy slips from the chair and slowly walks to the door as if drawn further by an invisible force. Maybe she is.

That part of her, they couldn't cage.

The End

Return to Women's Murder Club Fiction

Return to Dollhouse Fiction

Return to Main Page