DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Zero On The Line
Her shoes squeaked, just enough dirt and grime and red covering the soles to leave faint traces of where she had been walking. She sighed, running a hand through her hair wearily, as she tried not the choke on the smell of death.
"Coffee?" Claire pushed the steaming cup under her nose and she took it greedily and swallowed the bitter liquid too quickly.
"Don't burn your " but the warning was too late, as she spit the coffee back into the cup in an instant and whimpered slightly. "Tongue," the Medical Examiner finished lamely.
"Yeah, thanks for that," she barked out in a sagging voice. "God! What the hell is taking so long!" She marched down the hallway towards the double doors, but before she could shove her palm into the metal, Claire grabbed her by the arm and steered her into a nearby chair.
"Listen to me, you're just going to have to be patient." Claire dropped the mothering tone and looked her square in the eyes. "When they know something, they'll tell us."
She stood violently, almost sending Claire across the room. "Well when the hell are they going to know something then? They've been in there for I don't even know what's happening in there. What if what if "
"Don't you play with 'what if' game with me Lindsay Boxer." Claire sighed and rubbed a hand across her eyes. "We've been here for hours now. You just have to be patient."
"I don't do patient," Lindsay snapped, but sat down resignedly. "There was a lot of blood," she half-whispered. "I've seen blood before, and there was that one but it was too much. Just," she shook her head and tried not to frown. "Too much."
"I know sweetie, I know." The Inspector laid her head on Claire's shoulder, took a deep breath.
An hour later, Lindsay was pacing again, hands shoved mercilessly into her pockets. At the sound of swinging doors, her dark head snapped up and her eyes automatically landed on Jill, flushed and out of breath.
"What? What?" Lindsay stepped forward frantically. "What happened? Is she okay?"
"She's fine. They both are." Jill's mouth quirked upward, and she nodded in the direction of the hospital room. "Want to go meet your daughter?"
Lindsay paced the floor, her hands held out in front of her like they were on fire. Her eyes traced over the red that covered her fingers and continued on down to the edges of her wrists.
"Lindsay?" The brunette started, shocked into reality as Claire's voice grounded her. "Oh baby, what happened?"
Except that Lindsay couldn't answer that, because one minute, she was chasing Cindy and the next, she was tried to keep her alive, and she's not really clear on what happened in between. "I what where's Cindy?" she managed to whisper. Her head reeled and her stomach flipped and before she knew it, she was slumped against the wall, her body sliding to the floor. "I didn't check her pulse. I didn't oh God, I didn't check her pulse."Her head dropped between her knees. "Why didn't I check her pulse?"
Jill pushed through the doors. "She crashed."
Lindsay's head snapped up and her grew wide, filling with tears.
"They got her back," Jill quickly amended, moving to run her hands through her hair, but she stopped when she remembered her hands were stained with her friend's blood; with Cindy's blood. "Sorry, sorry. They got her back."
"I didn't check her pulse" Lindsay whispered again. "She thinks I hate her. Oh, God. I I with her intern and and she knows and she hates me and oh God, I didn't check her pulse."
Claire grabbed her shoulders and steadied her. "She's back, okay? They got her back and they're going to fix her, do you understand me?" Lindsay nodded with hesitation.
Two hours went by before the doctor came out into the waiting room, his gloves the color of Lindsay's hands. "We managed to get both of the bullets out. She's still sleeping, and when she wakes up, she'll be sore and probably angry. They usually are, but regardless, she's going to be okay. Some physical therapy, of course "
But Lindsay stopped listening after "we managed to get the bullets out" because her hands shook and her chest suddenly felt two sizes too small. Before she knew what hit her, she stood and strode towards the surgery room, head held high and a look in her eye that dared anyone to try and stop her.
Cindy stopped her dead in her tracks, as soon as she caught sight of the young woman, pale and fragile in that big white bed, surrounded by big white machines.
"Oh, God." Lindsay fell back into Jill, but the blonde steadied her and pushed her towards the redhead. Lindsay sunk into the chair next to the bed and tried to stop herself from clutching Cindy's hand, but the overwhelming power of need won out, and she lifted it gently, rubbed her thumb over the smooth skin.
"Don't leave me Cindy, please don't leave me. I need you so much. I need you. I don't go," Lindsay begged, head pressed into the white blanket.
"Hey you," Lindsay said as she slipped into the room. Her smile grew wider as she caught sight of Cindy sitting up, her forehead sweaty and her skin flushed.
"I'm still laughing, just so you know. I'm just too tired to actually, you know, laugh." Jill laughed for her as she pushed the hair off her face.
"Cindy," Lindsay groaned.
"No, you let me have this moment. Just think," she mused. "Lindsay Boxer can't handle a little thing like childbirth. It's just aren't you a cop?" Cindy didn't wait for an answer. "Aren't you supposed to be all big and bad and "
Lindsay took Cindy's face in her hands and kissed her solidly, stopping her mouth mid-word. "I just hate hospitals," Lindsay murmured against Cindy's mouth. Cindy sighed.
"I know, baby. It's been three years though. And really," she raised her voice louder for the other women's benefit. "Jill doesn't do labor coach well."
"I'm a lawyer. We do not delegate," Jill defended. "You did great though Cindy, really great."
Cindy's eyes sparkled. "Not so bad yourself Counselor. Now, where did they hide that kid of mine?" A nurse handed a small pink bundle to the waiting redhead and Lindsay felt her breath catch in her throat for a reason that was all good.
"Inspector Lindsay Boxer, meet your daughter Aubrey Thomas Boxer," Cindy whispered softly. Lindsay reached down to move the velvety blanket and caught sight of a small nose and a small tuft of black hair.
"God, she's beautiful," Lindsay said just as soft.
"She's yours," Cindy told her with a smile.
A week after she was a shot, a week after dying and coming back to life, Cindy opened her eyes. And the first thing she saw was Lindsay.
"Get out of my dream Boxer," she mumbled. The Inspector jerked out of a light sleep and stared at Cindy with wide eyes, just breathing.
"You're awake." Cindy winced as she tried to sit up a little taller.
"You're ow, perceptive." In an instant, Lindsay had stood and wrapped one long around Cindy's waist, carefully hoisting her upward.
"I love you."
Cindy felt the room tilt. "Excuse me?"
"I love you," Lindsay repeated. Cindy blinked a few times.
"I'm on painkillers, right?"
"I love you."
"Or are you on painkillers?" Lindsay ignored Cindy and climbed up on the bed, sitting off to the side.
"I love you," she said again, slower this time. "And I'm just mad that it took you getting " Lindsay choked on the words. "Getting shot to make me admit it. Because I've always loved you. I owe you so many explanations and I need to apologize for so many things, but I love you, and I'm hoping we can start from there and see where we end up."
Cindy sat silent, her eyes wide and confused and her hand tight in Lindsay's grasp.
"Say something," Lindsay urged after minutes of silence.
"I'm not " she cleared her throat. "I'm not dreaming, am I? No one is going to, I don't know, jump out of the closet and yell 'Gotcha!' are they?"
Lindsay smirked, then giggled and in a matter of seconds, laughed out loud. "Who are you expecting to jump out of the closet?"
Cindy looked away sheepishly. "Jill," she mumbled.
"You're up!" yelled the blonde from the doorway. Lindsay laughed harder, but Jill ignored her and pushed the Inspector off of the bed, claiming the vacant seat. "Don't do that again," she said sternly.
Cindy raised her free hand and held up three fingers. "I solemnly swear."
"That has no merit, unless you were actually a Boy Scout," Claire claimed from the doorway.
"I was a Brownie," Cindy offered. Claire shook her head.
"Of course you were sweetie."
"Did you tell her yet?" Jill asked, as she turned on the brunette.
"Tell who what?" Cindy asked.
"You didn't tell her?!" Jill untangled a hand from Cindy's and punched Lindsay in the shoulder.
"Ow, Jill!" Lindsay rubbed her leather-clad arm. "I was telling her, and she thought I was kidding."
"But what about Sarah," Cindy asked bitterly.
"What about Jamie?" Lindsay shot back, as Jill gave her a dirty look that said 'she just got shot! shut up.'
Cindy smiled. "One date that ended with you on my couch."
"I kissed her in the bathroom, but then I chased you down the street," Lindsay admitted.
The redhead opened her mouth to say something else, but Jill jumped in with a loud sigh. "Well if you two idiots are done figuring out the obvious, can we get to some pressing matters here. For example, Denise asked me out."
"So we decided " Cindy started, pausing as she shoved a piece of pizza in her mouth. "Sorry, I'm starving. Like I was saying, we decided godparents, and whatnot," she said as she waved a hand in the air.
"Claire is the godmother, and Jill, you get to be the godfather." Lindsay waited for the shriek of disbelief.
"Godfather, huh? Do I get an accent? And do I get to teach her how to shoot a gun?" Jill passed the plate of fries to Cindy.
"Yes to accent, Hell No to the gun," the redhead declare, stealing the snarky retort from Lindsay's mouth.
Jill shrugged. "I'm in."
"Well, good, because I'm pretty sure that Claire would have some objections to being the godfather," Lindsay offered rationally. "Although, Claire, if you want it "
"Hey!" Jill yelled.
"No way," Claire said just as quickly. "God, you two are delusional," the Medical Examiner scoffed.
"I second that motion," Jill added. "And on that note, I'm out of here. My godchild is adorable, but Denise's plane gets in soon and I've got to pick her up."
Lindsay snorted. "Denise. God, did anyone see that coming?" Cindy nodded and Claire just smiled. "Oh, so I'm the only dense one here, is that it?"
"You did kick me out of your house naked," Cindy pointed out.
"And showed up at her place drunk," Claire added.
"And chased her down a street once," Jill pointed out.
"Enough, all of you. You," she pointed at Jill. "Go pick up your girlfriend. And you," she added, glancing at Claire, "don't you have a family who is patiently waiting to hear about their newest addition to the Club Family? Hop to it!"
"I love you," Cindy whispered after the room cleared out, Aubrey asleep in her arms.
"I love you too," Lindsay whispered back as she placed a kiss on Cindy's forehead.
Cindy grinned. "I was talking about Boxer Jr. here."
"I still love you," Lindsay said softly. "I'm glad we got here."
"Where is here, exactly?"
Lindsay frowned. "I'm not really sure, but I like it."
Cindy looked down at the tiny bundle in her arms, then back up at Lindsay and gave the brunette a brilliant smile.
"Yeah, I like it here too."
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