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The End of Winter
By Demeter


The moment Cindy opens her eyes, Lindsay sees the awareness in them. She wants to say something that reflects the profound gratitude filling her mind but the truth is, she feels like crumbling on the inside. There's only so long a person can hold on.

Cindy steps out of the chair, looking curious and confused alike as she takes in her surroundings, the room and its occupants. "Linds... Can you tell me what just happened here? You didn't volunteer me for an experiment, did you?"

"Oh baby. No way." She resists the completely inappropriate impulse to laugh. All these months she's been living for just this moment and this is the question Cindy asks? It's not really funny but temptation is teasing her. Hysterics, really, Lindsay knows.

"I promise I'll explain. Will you let a doctor check you first?"

Cindy frowns, and it's the last thing Lindsay sees before her vision starts to blur and the room is swimming.

"I don't need a doctor. Lindsay? Are you okay?"

"I am now." As embarrassing this is in a room full of people, she can't stop her voice from breaking on the last word.

"I don't know, maybe you are the one who should see a doctor." Cindy sounds worried. "While we get there, are you going to tell me what we are doing here?" She reaches up to touch her forehead, puzzled and confused, but you can always trust Cindy not to make any detours to the crucial question.

"Why can't I remember?"

She spins around, taking in the chair as if seeing it for the first time, then looks at her hands. When she turns to Lindsay again, her gaze is full of fear. "I haven't been gone for five years, right?"

"No, you haven't." Even if it felt that way. "Let's go see that doctor now, and then I'll tell you everything."

Wherever they go from here, it's going to be forward, away from this place.

"I didn't fall and hit my head, right?" Cindy asks suspiciously as they walk along the hallway to the doctor's office.

"No. You remember me, don't you?"

"Not my name, the date, the President?"

When Cindy laughs, Lindsay feels like a junkie who's finally getting the long-craved fix – at least she assumes, not that she'd know – and she can't stop the smile from spreading on her face. Not matter how long or rocky the road ahead might be, they are in it together again.

"I sure remember you, Lindsay Boxer."

Lindsay catches Cindy's sideways look and smile and just for moment, she believes that they are going to be alright after all, that the worst is already behind them.

She got Cindy back from the underworld. There's nothing left to fear, is there?

The End

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