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


Agent John Ashe hasn't become one of the FBI's top profilers for a lack of good instincts, so he knows something isn't quite right even before Lindsay Boxer steps out of the corner of the room.

"Inspector," he says irritably. "How the hell did you get in here?"

She smiles smugly. "I've got my sources."

"Fine. What do you want?"

"What I want? Your head on a silver platter would be nice." The smile is gone, her voice cold. He wonders what happened when Cindy Thomas went into the chair for the last time. Damn those Dollhouse scientists doing everything half-assed. She is not supposed to have any Libra memories, just her own.

He shrugs. "In undercover work, you can't always do the right thing. You know that."

"Oh, so on your undercover assignment you had no choice but to rape a woman who had conveniently been brainwashed into trusting you with her life? I bet you could barely stand the shame. You're lucky this assignment is over now. I hear that Ms. DeWitt had handlers who crossed that line executed."

He notices with amusement that if looks could kill, his colleagues could call in the ME now. He doesn't mind Lindsay Boxer's hate; in fact, he has thrived on it from the moment they met. She seems to forget that she doesn't have the power that Adelle DeWitt once had. Even so, he won't underestimate her; she's carrying a gun too after all and she might just be desperate enough.

"This is not about feelings, Inspector Boxer, yours or mine. Or is it?" Just for a split-second he knows he has startled her. Satisfied with that, he steps closer into her personal space. "You and Echo... Or should I say, Caroline? How is that any different? Wasn't it payback for the Dollhouse people to mess with one of their most high-priced employee? You got it wrong, Lindsay. It's exactly what they wanted you to do. When it comes to messing with people, no one does it better. Their technology was quite fascinating.... As you know."

She has regained her composure quickly. "But I didn't come here to chat with you about technology, or discuss Echo. I came here to warn you... John."

He can't help but laugh at her. "Really? Should I be worried?"

"You should be. It might not be right away, but you are going to pay for this. There are people in this department who'll be watching you, waiting for you to screw up." The smug smile is back. "Like I said. Friends of mine."

Seconds tick by as they stare at each other in a silent stand-off.

"You hurt someone I love," she says. "From now on, Ashe, you better start looking over your shouder."

Before he can return something, she walks out of his office, closing the door behind her with a soft click.

It's true, there's nothing much she can do now while courts all over the world are still struggling to determine if the actives' memories are accurate enough for the witness stand.

His instincts, however, tell him to be very careful.

The End

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