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The Olive Branch
By Demeter


They meet on a Sunday morning, very much like they used to but today is special. Cindy has sent off the last part of her story. Come to think of it, it's special that she is sitting with them at the table as she used to.

It's early in the day, but they're going to have plenty of champagne. They deserved it, each of them.

They drink, chat, laugh, it's like the old times before any of them had ever heard the term 'Dollhouse', but even when no one mentions it, it's just there, flashes of the underground ivory tower and Topher Brink's library of souls on all of their minds..

It's also there in how no one dares to address the status of Lindsay and Cindy's relationship.

Don't be shy. Lindsay smiles at Jill over the the rim of her glass at some joke made. It still hurts, but it won't kill me.

Yet, there is an air of relief. Taking Echo to meet Jill and Claire wondering if they'd think she had lost her mind, the anxious feeling before Cindy went to L.A., it's all gone. They did win the war if not all the battles.

Jill is currently dating an L.A. investigator. "You know, tall, dark-haired, handsome… I can't help it, I just have a type." She winks at Cindy who has the appropriate retort ready.

"That's fine as long as I can keep this one," she says softly.

Lindsay can barely stand to look at her at this moment. She remembers a time when they'd been here together, talking about the house. And rings. It seems like a lifetime ago. She'd go back there without hesitation but what she dreams of, what she needs, would put an impossible pressure on Cindy who is only starting to heal. She can't risk that.

Still, words like that make her heart flutter with a hope she knows to be irrational.

"I don't think she's going anywhere," Claire says. "Come on, this is not a funeral. In fact we've been damn lucky to avoid any. So how are those moving plans coming along?"

If Lindsay has been having thoughts of letting go, she hasn't shared them with her friends. Maybe, if she had, they wouldn't weigh so heavy on her heart.

Cindy looks at her for reassurance. Lindsay doesn't feel like she can offer much, but it seems to be enough. "Now that I've got this damn story out there is actually time for something else." It's somewhat evasive, but people hear what they want to hear, even smart amiable friends.

It's out. Over and done. There'll be new cases, new challenges. There's a chance Lindsay hasn't even begun to grasp yet.

Under the table though, Cindy's hand slides ino hers and she can tell from Jill and Claire's knowing smiles that they might understand more than she can at this point.

The pain slowly recedes.

The End

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