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Shades Of Grey
By Demeter


Sandy Masterson, wearing a dark blue suit and her black hair in a stylish ponytail seems very comfortable in the witness stand. It would almost be enough for Lindsay to despise her if she didn't have enough other reasons.

"I didn't force her to do anything. I paid for dinner, movies, the clubs... I had the perfect best friend there for awhile."

No bitch, Lindsay thinks, you didn't. You don't have the slightest idea about friendship. Cindy squeezes her hand, sensing her inner turmoil. Claire's look clearly shows that she'd like to give the witness a piece of her mind, too. Perfect best friends, Lindsay has them.

"What would you imagine to happen in a Dollhouse?" Jill asks a seemingly harmless question. The jurors are intrigued for sure. "Children think up stories of their dolls' daily lives. They play with them... And then they toss them aside. Children tend to break their toys." She sees one of them, a 40ish man flinch even before she continues. "It's normal. But we aren't talking about children and their toys here. We're talking about human beings forced into mind control experiments while the people responsible for this crime had about as much regard for them as aforementioned children with their toys." Only slightly, she raises her voice.

"Played with, and tossed away. It doesn't sound so cozy any longer, do you think?"

There's a loaded silence before the defense lawyer jumps up to shout 'Objection!'

"I saw it on TV," Sandy says. "Those chicks had the easy life for sure. Imagine that, massages, swimming, yoga and health food, all for free. Every now and then they were in on the action or going out with people who wouldn't given them a second glance in their normal lives. Who wouldn't want to be a part of this?"

Indeed, who wouldn't. Lindsay thinks back over the past couple of months, the revelations, going forward a few steps and then falling back into a colder, darker place. They agreed on separate sleeping quarters for a while but then reconsidered when the nightmares began. Gingerbread houses and burning places; it had taken them a while to find the connection, fairy tale imagery, Kiss-Me-Not's M.O. and he man who not only hunted killers but had become a predator himself. Ashe. So there are going to be consequences for him but as far as Lindsay is concerned, it can never be enough.

"You're going to hear that they volunteered, that they signed a contract. But how much is that contract worth when the life or career of your loved ones is threatened? Were they told that they would face mortal danger on some of those assignments? That their brains might irreversibly damaged depending on the knowledge of the person operating the chair? In those five years, everything could happen. Everything."

Five years. Lindsay doesn't dare to look at Cindy. It would have killed them both. Also, she now has an idea as to why Cindy signed the contract. She won't ask as long as Cindy doesn't want to share.

There's no way to turn back time.

"Chloe kissed me, it wasn't my idea," Masterson claims. "I mean... It's not like I had a problem with it. I had no idea the girl was gay, but I guess now that they made her that way."

As much as Lindsay wants to walk up to the woman and shake her, she can't help being amazed. Sandy Masterson has the looks to pass for her younger sister. There was a part of Cindy that remembered her, always.

It's an odd solace in a confusing present.

They will go easier on clients like her, for sure, though it's hard to determine, neither of them has ever dealt with a case of this magnitude. When Sandy walks past them, she stops for a moment. "Cindy... That's you name, right? I'm sorry about all this. I had no idea. I know you don't remember but we had a great time together."

Sure she didn't know because it was normal to buy a friend especially designed for you with all their interests shaped according to yours. Sure she didn't wonder every time she signed the check and she never asked herself where Chloe was going once she was picked up again.

"Just leave me alone," Cindy snaps. Lindsay almost laughs at Masterson's baffled expression.

"You heard what she said," she says with a smile.

"You're going to hear how all of them were criminals, given a chance at a better life. That is not true. It could have happened to each of us. They had all the power, could turn you into whoever they wanted you to be: A rocket scientist or a serial killer. Consent... Became a theory."

The End

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