House Arrest (6/35) – WMC fic

(Lindsay’s POV)

Things were really coming together with the case, but Lindsay had to break away. She needed clothes and a minute or two at home for research. When Cindy had randomly called in the middle of the afternoon the day before, it had been disconcerting.

The call had started normally enough. Cindy asked what was going on with the case. There was no more Cindy of a question in all the world. But when Lindsay told her that she and Jacobi were on the way to interview some witnesses, the mood had changed. Cindy got really quiet. And then she got really weird. She said, “Be careful Lindsay.” So Lindsay responded, “I always am.” Then Cindy said, “I know. Just be careful.” And though she had played off Cindy’s sudden concern for her safety, and her repetitiveness, it had shaken her. It was just so… peculiar. Whether Cindy was having some sort of psychic thing she should know about, or some kind of psychotic break, checking in seemed like a good idea.

Cindy was asleep on the couch again when she walked in, which wouldn’t have been particularly surprising if it wasn’t two o’clock in the afternoon. It was no wonder though. She’d been leaving the poor girl a list worthy of a full-time job every day and she had completed all the tasks without a single word. She was also still working for the paper on that oh-so-important sewer piece. She knew that from peeking at the notes Cindy left scattered over the kitchen table. Between the two things, she had to be putting in almost as many hours as Lindsay without leaving the house.

That thought almost made Lindsay want to let her sleep. Almost.

“Up and at ’em,” she said, leaning on the arm of the couch by Cindy’s head.

Cindy looked so confused when she woke, Lindsay had to laugh at her.

“What does that even mean?” Cindy groaned.

“Sleeping on the job?” Lindsay asked.

“Yeah… I guess,” Cindy seemed surprised by where she found herself. “I stayed up really late last night. I just sat down for a minute.”

“Looked like sleep to me,” Lindsay teased.

“It clearly turned into sleep,” Cindy returned. “I was getting to that part.”

Lindsay smiled and watched Cindy try to wake up completely. She looked… She looked… She looked adorable. There was just no other word for it.

“Why did you stay up so late?” Lindsay asked her.

“I was…” Cindy paused. She sat up and scratched her head, mussing up her hair. “I was uh… I was working on the article.”

“Inspiration struck huh?”

“Yeah. Who knew the disposal of human waste could move me so?”

Lindsay chuckled, but Cindy didn’t. She actually looked kind of weary. And like she wasn’t quite finished with what she wanted to say. So, instead of a clever retort, Lindsay just waited for whatever else was coming.

“You… um…” Cindy paused, trying to find the words. “You didn’t call to let me know that you wouldn’t be home.”

Oh. Oops.

“Sorry,” Lindsay said. “I bet you would have liked the bed.”

Cindy glanced up at her, then dropped her gaze to her hands in her lap.

“Yeah. That’s it,” she said quietly.

“I got caught up…. I’m not used to having someone… Sorry,” Lindsay fumbled.

“‘s’okay,” Cindy responded with a yawn.

She didn’t say anything else, and Lindsay decided, now that the odd opening sequence had come to a conclusion, it was time for the main event.

“So… what was that call about yesterday?”

Cindy tensed. Lindsay could see her shoulders freeze up. But more than that, she could feel it, the subtle difference in the atmosphere, the edginess suddenly on the air. She really hadn’t known that she was asking a hard question.

“Nothing particular,” Cindy eventually responded, shaking her head. “Just checking in.”

“It seemed like more than that.”

“Did it?”

Lindsay laughed again. Cindy was the world’s worst liar, but on her behalf, she did know it.

“Okay,” she sighed. “I just… I had a bad feeling.”

“About me?”

“It was nothing. It was stupid. You know how to take care of yourself.”

“I like to think so, yeah.”

“You’ll be fine. You always are.” Cindy relaxed and smiled up at her.

“So, you’re okay?”

“I’m fine.”


And that was it. Back to normal.

Lindsay glanced down at the list on the coffee table. All but three of the chores were crossed off.

“I see you’re almost done with yesterday’s list.”

“Yeah. Almost done.”

“In that case, Martha could use a bath.”

Cindy looked up at her, a look of absolute disbelief on her face.

“You want me to give it to her?”

“Yeah,” Lindsay said simply.

“That dog is the same size as me Lindsay. How am I supposed to give her a bath?”

“Try sweet talking her. You’re good at that.”

Lindsay pushed up off the arm of the couch and headed toward the bedroom. She had to, before she cracked up at Cindy’s dumbstruck expression.

“Why are you torturing me?”

Lindsay stopped in her tracks. She was almost in the bedroom. She could have missed the question. But she didn’t. Despite the very quiet tone in which it had been delivered, she picked it up like it was shouted through a bullhorn. She’d been waiting for this particular inquiry and now that it was out there, she could feel her insides start bubbling like lava. It irked her to no end that Cindy even had to ask.

“Why am I torturing you?” she asked, turning around to face her.

That was all that it took to make Cindy look very sorry that she had asked, but Lindsay had a whole speech prepared and she was damn well going to use it.

“You are on your way to serious trouble. Not a holding cell and not for a few hours. You were on your way to jail for an extended period of time. You do not want jail for any time. Your reaction at the precinct, that’s the reaction you should have. A girl like you is a seriously hot commodity on the inside. You don’t want that kind of popularity, but you were this close to getting it,” Lindsay illustrated the minuteness with her thumb and forefinger. “I don’t think you fully appreciate how close, and I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to stop it next time.”

Her voice cracked. She hated getting this worked up, but the occasion totally begged for a grand reaction.

“I don’t want this to feel like Club Med for you,” she continued. “I want it to feel like you are being punished. That way, maybe you will think next time before you go off half-cocked.”

The air seemed deathly silent in the sudden absence of her tirade. And neither of them moved. It was all very still.

“Okay,” Cindy said at last. It was barely audible.

Lindsay could feel the fury leaking out of her. Maybe it was because, the vision of her sitting there, in profile, staring down at the floor, her hair hanging down and covering most of her face, Cindy looked so incredibly well-scolded, there was no denying Lindsay’s words had made an impression. She took a deep breath and ran her fingers through her hair.

“You don’t have to wash Martha,” she said.

Cindy didn’t react. She didn’t move. She didn’t say anything. She looked like a very life-like, very sad, statue.

“Cindy,” Lindsay said to get her attention.

When Cindy looked over at her, she was crying. Not full on, but a few tears had made it as far as her cheeks. Lindsay was surprised by just how much her heart ached in reaction. Making Cindy cry was not something she’d meant to do, and not something she wanted to do, but she couldn’t apologize for the outburst either. These were facts that Cindy desperately needed to hear before there was a next time with a considerably worse outcome.

“You have to promise me that you will be more careful.”

“I promise I’ll be more careful,” Cindy said almost immediately, her voice thick.

The urge to walk over to the sofa and hug her was so overwhelming it was painful to suppress, but Lindsay really didn’t know if Cindy would want her attempts at consolation, considering she was the cause of the tears.

“I should change and get back,” she said instead.

“Ho-Ho-Ho Killer still on the loose, I take it,” Cindy replied, surprising her.

Lindsay smiled and gave her a patented look at the name.

“I thought he needed a good nickname,” Cindy shrugged, smiling softly.

Lindsay felt relief wash over her. It could have been a much longer rough patch. But Cindy was so forgiving. Or maybe just so forgiving of her.

“Not for long he won’t. We have some solid leads.”

“Good luck,” Cindy said with complete sincerity.


Lindsay didn’t know what else to say, so she smiled and backed through the bedroom doorway, somewhat disturbed by the fact that Cindy hadn’t pressed for more information.

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