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


"So you cheated on me... With myself. Wow."

Lindsay holds back the instant response that it wasn't really cheating, because that woman was Cindy at the time and no one else would ever know her like this, would know exactly what she needed with a certainty that has felt disconcerting at times. No one else she'd love like this, ever again.

That's because they fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.

It can't undo what happened though. Lindsay doesn't even know towards whom she should feel more guilty: Cindy or Caroline.

"I thought I'd never see you again." It's no excuse, and they both know it. "But Cindy, I--" What can she possibly say? Let's try to pretend it never happened? Don't leave me, because I couldn't live without you? Instead, she reaches out to touch Cindy's cheek. She wants to lean closer and kiss her so badly, regardless of the fact it wouldn't be very appropriate for the subject of their conversation.

Cindy draws back. "I… I'm sorry. I've got to think this through, okay? I... I can't be with anybody now. I'm sorry, Linds."

Which means... Lindsay just stares at her, unwilling to believe that after the hell they both have been put through, they're just going to end like this. She wants to be understanding but her fears get the better of her. "You're punishing me because of... Echo?"

"I'm not punishing you," Cindy says impatiently. "I barely know who I am anymore, so how can I be in a relationship? Who would that be anyway? Jenny? Chloe?"

"So that's final?" Lindsay knows she shouldn't feel like this, betrayed, anxious, because this isn't about her needs but Cindy's. She can't help the tide of emotion though. "You're going to leave?"

Cindy shrugs. "If you want me to, I'd understand, but I'd just hoped I could stay a while longer. Maybe I should--"

"No. No, it's okay," Lindsay feels lightheaded, as if they'd just barely avoided a catastrophe. This time. "They house is in our names, remember? It's your home, too." She doesn't quite know if Cindy believes her, but she knows she's got to do everything to make her.

And she is willing to make sacrifices, everything to make her stay. That's of course because Lindsay believes that they can overcome this, too, one day when the story is written, all arrests regarding the Dollhouse are made, all cases brought to trial, all bodies buried.

There is going to be peace for them some time.

Cindy just gives her a sad look. "I know it's really not. I'm sorry."

Lindsay hesitates a moment too long, not wanting to risk another touch that would not be welcome, and then Cindy is up and out of the room. The front door closes softly, and Lindsay has to fight a wave of panic as she's almost gotten used to lately whenever they are apart. She has to remind herself this is not Cindy departing into her most dangerous assignment ever or innocent Libra who would be lost in the outside world.

Nothing will ever be the same. She might as well start to get used to it.

The End

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