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.

By Demeter


When Lindsay brings Cindy back to her hotel room that night, she feels very much like a victorious warrior. Not so much because everything's all right, it isn't, yet but because she can now feel every pain obtained in this war.

She has completely forgotten about her face until now that the headache pounding behind her temple reminds her. Some ice would be good, but she'll take care of that later. She has planned ahead but not that far, and she realizes that she maybe should have booked a suite or a room with twin beds. While she wants to curl around Cindy and never let go again, she's got to remind herself that the woman she is dealing with at the moment is very different from her girlfriend she said goodbye to all those months ago.

With the realization, now, in the quiet of the room, comes a wave of... An emotion. Lindsay can't quite define it, but she feels like it makes her stagger. Not yet. It's become her mantra, for what seems an endless time. It's not her time yet.

Cindy regards her curiously, but it's pretty much the same kind of curiosity she's bestowed on the flower arrangement in the lobby, or the carpet pattern. Every bit of the way she acts is a reminder of what's been going on in that place, and it makes Lindsay want to punch the wall. She holds back the impulse though, as to not scare the child in a woman's body. She'd scare herself possibly, because she doesn't know if she'd be able to stop.

Cindy reaches up to touch her face, and Lindsay holds her breath but it's not awareness returning, or a tender gesture. "You're bleeding," Cindy says, giving the red on her fingers a puzzled look.

Oh yes, I am. You have no idea.

"I'm going to take care if it in a minute," she says. "Will you be okay in the shower?"

Cindy gives her a 'well, d'uh' look that could have come from a five-year-old. Suddenly, the bodily ache recedes in favor of another, much worse. "Right. I'm going to get you some clothes."

At the Dollhouse, they had a full wardrobe of various outfits for each of their 'actives', suitable for every assignment that some rich clients could think of, but she couldn't take any of them since they're evidence, of course. Lindsay isn't sure why she didn't bring some of Cindy's, but maybe she was afraid that would somehow jinx the outcome of her mission. She is still scared, but as she keeps reminding herself, there's no time to indulge the sentiment.

"The minute is up," Cindy calls hesitantly and for an instant, Lindsay wonders what the hell she is talking about, until she realizes that her statement has been taken literally.

"Sorry. I guess I didn't calculate that well." Finally, she picks up one of her own shirts and some underwear; it will do for tonight. "I'll be right back."

Lindsay is in for another shock when she comes back into the room she's locked before. Even worse, Cindy didn't seem much worried about getting locked in.

She doesn't seem to worry much about anything because she comes out of the bathroom, clad in a towel she lets fall to the floor without so much as blinking an eye.

Lindsay hastily closes the door then leans against it, holding the ice pack to her face. She's so tired she feels like her knees are going to give way any minute now; at the same time, she feels this inappropriate rush of want. It's not like Lindsay would ever cross that line; she's very much aware that she's dealing with a woman who, at this state of mind, is far from grasping human sexuality of any kind, or even the fact that they are in love. Were. Are. Who can tell anymore?

In the shower, she lets the water wash away the blood and sweat of today but even in the privacy of those glass walls, the tears won't come. She clings to sanity with stubborn resolve.

In the bedroom, Cindy has put on the clothes she gave her, sitting on the edge of the bed waiting.

Even though she knows it can't be that easy, Lindsay keeps searching for signs of awareness. There are none.

"Am I not going into the pod tonight?" Cindy wonders aloud.

"No honey, you are not." She manages quite well to hold it together, but the effort it takes often makes it hard to breathe.

"Are you scared?"

Even like this, for Cindy, life is all about questions, and she always knows the ones that hit too close to home. "Don't be," she says, when Lindsay doesn't answer. "I'll stay here with you."

She goes to sleep nearly the moment the light is turned off. Sleep, for Lindsay, is a longed for illusion. Over and over she has dreamed of this moment and now that it has come, she's afraid to close her eyes for a moment, because she could wake up to find Cindy gone. She had a lot of dreams like that.

She's so happy, grateful really to finally have Cindy back that she can't afford to waste a moment. At the same time, there's an invisible wall between them. She can't touch her, literally, because of it.

Maybe she has just exchanged one hell for another, but Lindsay tells herself not to dwell on it. Cindy is free now, and that's all that matters.

She only wishes she could feel a sliver of that freedom, too.

The End

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