Inamorata (14/36) – WMC fic

PAIRING: Lindsay/Cindy
DISCLAIMER: Characters, not mine. Story, mine.

“Are you sure you’re up for this?”

“Give me the damn file,” Jacobi said, holding his hand out, looking more alert and capable than he had any right to be.

When she passed it to him, he immediately flipped it open, and Lindsay looked down at the second file she was holding in her hands. This was the one thing that might give her away if Ashe made it back to the station before she did. Tom was a pretty proficient liar. She was glad to be able to say she learned that through watching him work, and not through their marriage. She had no doubts that Ashe would believe whatever Tom told him. It would be the file that she would have to explain. When Ashe returned to the station, it would be the first thing he would look for and if it wasn’t there to find… Her thumb tapped anxiously against the folder. She’d have to worry about that later.

“I know which story we’re in,” she enlightened her waiting listeners, glancing at the door to make sure it was still tightly shut.

There was a ripple of reaction from all three of them, but it was Jill who leaned forward to make the inquiry.

“Which story?”

“Beauty and the Beast,” she informed them.

“How do you know?”

This was where things could potentially get complicated, because most of what Lindsay knew, she knew solely because she knew. There wasn’t much else to go on. Not to mention, at best, this was going to be a painful experience for everyone in the room.

“This is a picture of Cindy,” Lindsay started, pulling out the photograph and pausing before she held it up to buffer. “It’s nothing exceedingly awful, but it still might be kind of hard to see.”

It took a while to get a response, which was a clear measure of just how little any of them actually wanted to look at it.

“Okay,” Jill finally said in a voice that made it sound exactly opposite.

Lindsay held up the picture anyway, trying hard to ignore the way that Jill’s hand went to her stomach as if the image made her instantly ill, the way that Jacobi’s jaw clenched so tightly that she thought it might shatter, or the way that Claire glanced down almost as soon as she looked at it, and when she looked back up, she quickly wiped away tears, only to have several more fall in their places.

“These flowers,” Lindsay indicated them in the photograph, unwilling to let the personal distract them from the mission. “The day of the open house, I sent black callas to Cindy… for luck. I don’t know if they’re the same flowers or just an indication that he knows, but they’re significant.”

“Maybe it’s a coincidence,” Claire suggested, her voice weak.

Of course, they all wanted to think that, because if it wasn’t a coincidence, then he’d gotten into yet another place where he didn’t belong. Though, it may have been a lot easier all along than any of them wanted to recognize.

“You don’t really believe that do you?” Lindsay asked. “He was in Cindy’s apartment. He probably saw the card with the flowers and wanted me to know. There has to be a reason they are the only other thing visible in the picture.”

“How does it relate to Beauty and the Beast?” Claire questioned.

Lindsay could see it on her. After the initial shock of the image had faded and she knew what might be in store for her friend, Claire had hit her ‘whatever I have to do, it’s gonna get done’ mentality that Lindsay was so desperately in need of at the moment. It was a resolve that Lindsay could feed on. Nearly out of her own, she was borrowing heavily from her friends’ strength.

“It doesn’t directly,” Lindsay explained. “It’s the fact that he was in Cindy’s apartment.” She didn’t want to share this. It was intimate, hers and Cindy’s, but it would matter very little if they didn’t find her. “Cindy was reading the fairy tales, trying to memorize them as best as she could. Sometimes she read them over the phone to me. We stopped partway through Beauty and the Beast. That was the night before the open house. If he was in her apartment, I’m sure he saw the book. He would have known that. That’s what he’s trying to tell me with the flowers, I think. That he was in there, and that we were reading our own story.”

“So, he thinks he’s the beast?” Jill asked.

Lindsay looked at Jacobi. He knew what she was going to say. She could tell.

“I think I’m the beast.”

The stunned silence was exactly what she’d been expecting, and she’d prepared her response hours ago over one of the lags in conversation with Ashe.

“Let’s not pretend that the Kiss-Me-Not cases didn’t change me. Let’s not pretend that I haven’t become cold and distant and closed off, okay? I know that I have.”

“Okay. If you’re the beast,” Claire said, sounding as if she was in no way conceding the issue. “Then who is he?”

“He’s the curse.” It felt like an odd thing to say. This whole conversation was surreal, but Lindsay had spent a lot of time the night before proving to herself all of the points she was now making. “I am what I am now because of Kiss-Me-Not. This is what he has turned me into.”

“A beast, Linds?” Jill finally spoke, heatedly. “Is that really how you see yourself?”

“Jill, it makes sense,” Lindsay declared as calmly as she could. “It’s even possible that he got the idea from us. This is my story. I said it that night to Cindy on the phone, that it sounded like me. And she didn’t want to hear it either, but I don’t doubt for a second that she was taking notes in the margins.”

Jill just shook her head back and forth repeatedly.

“The stakes?” Jacobi asked quietly.

“If I get to her in time, the curse is lifted, because, even in these circumstances, which have been far from ideal… sometimes… with Cindy… I’m the person I used to be,” Lindsay answered, fighting the emotional element of the revelation to stay focused. “If I don’t get to her in time… if she dies… this is what I am forever.”

Jacobi nodded slowly. She was dead-on and he knew it. This was never about Cindy. This was always about her. And Beauty and the Beast was one of the few fairy tales where the real victim wasn’t the story’s maiden.

“This is bullshit.”

“Jill,” Jacobi cut in before Lindsay could argue the point further. “I know you’re friends, but Cindy doesn’t have time for propriety. The goddamn story could have been written about Lindsay and you know it.”

Despite the callousness of the statement, Lindsay found herself nodding along gratefully, because it was the truth, and they had time for nothing but right now.

“And he’s right,” Lindsay went on, when Jill didn’t respond. Tears filled her eyes. They didn’t fall, but she didn’t bother to blink them away either. “If Cindy dies, this is it for me, you guys. It is.”

That seemed to have an effect on Claire and Jill, and she hoped that an open appeal, and something that they really weren’t used to hearing from her, would bring them further over to her side.

“Help me.”

“We’re going to find her,” Jill was suddenly adamant. “Between us and the FBI-“

“No,” Lindsay quickly cut her off. “Ashe isn’t in on this.”

“Why? Don’t you need him?”

“He’s the last thing I need,” Lindsay uttered.

She wasn’t going to tell them. She needed for them to tell her. Because she had a very limited timeframe. If she was wrong, that timeframe might be even shorter than she had made it. She had to be sure. She didn’t want her own perceptions to influence theirs.

“Did he do something?” Jacobi asked, though his tone implied he already had an idea.

“How often do you hear the term inamorata?” Lindsay directed the question mostly to Jill, because, of all of them, she worked the most with language.

“Never,” Jill answered just as Lindsay suspected she would.

“Sounds like a Cindy word,” Claire added, the thought drawing a sad smile to her lips.

Lindsay’s suspicions were further validated.

“It is a Cindy word,” she told them. “She’s been writing me letters, getting them to me through her detail. She signed all of them ‘Your Inamorata’, because she knew better than to use her name. Most of them are at the safe house, but I did have one buried in my desk drawer. Last night, Ashe referred to her that way.”

She could see them starting to take the perilous journey down her path of thinking.

“It is suspect, but…” Jill trailed off, shaking her head.

“I’ve been withholding from Ashe the whole time. I have,” Lindsay admitted.


“I didn’t realize that I was doing it… until today. Today, I realized it’s this feeling I’ve been getting from him. He isn’t fixated on Kiss-Me-Not because he represents mistakes, losses, death, and now these threats. He is infatuated with the idea of him. A fan.”

“You think Ashe is Kiss-Me-Not,” Claire dashed to the finish line.

God, they all knew each other far too well.

But Lindsay couldn’t answer the question. That was the sticking point where her reason went all to hell. She’d always believed that she would know the Kiss-Me-Not Killer the moment she came face-to-face with him. While it was true that she’d never trusted Ashe, she’d never thought him to be her guy either.

“This isn’t right,” Jacobi uttered.

During the latter turn in the conversation, he’d returned to the case file. He was looking intently at a crime scene photo from his own shooting. It sent a pervasive shudder down Lindsay’s spine.

“What’s wrong with it?” she asked him.

“I was walking to the back of the car, not toward the front.”

“Jacobi, no offense,” Claire said gently, “but you were shot in the head.”

“I am sure about this,” Jacobi asserted forcefully. “The last thing I saw was a poster for a band. It was on the wall behind the car. I was facing the back.”

If he was moved, someone would figure that out eventually. There would be indicators, but it could take them a while to notice them with everything that was going on.

“How far was the shooter?” he asked.

“Fifteen feet,” Lindsay immediately responded. She’d memorized every last detail of Jacobi’s shooting, one more folder full of grim statistics filed in her psyche. She was trying to put together exactly what Jacobi was telling her. “If you were walking to the back, the shooter must have come from somewhere in the front.”

“Then Cindy must have seen him,” Jill added.

“No,” Claire cut in, shaking her head. “She never would have let you get shot. She would have warned you somehow, honked the horn… something.”

“Maybe she was distracted,” Jill tried.

And that’s when Lindsay’s suspicions cemented. It was all that she needed. She was convinced.

“Or maybe she didn’t perceive any threat, because she knew him,” Lindsay declared, standing up and heading for the door.

“Lindsay?” Claire questioned.

“Stay here,” Lindsay told them.

They called after, but she never slowed down.

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  1. Wooo-hoooooooo! A new chapter!!!!!!!
    I’m going to read it now and comment later, possibly tomorrow (as it is already 1 a.m. over here 🙁 )
    but i just coulnd’t resist the happiness of a new chapter being up, had to comunicate it to someone! (see what you’ve reduced me to??? I fell like a Lindsay/Cindy junkie now…… which isn’t totally bad, of course..)

  2. o-m-g, riley, o-m-g! ok, so a TON of people have written stories about KMNK kidnapping cindy and lindsay having to save. like, a TON. i was initially very bummed when i saw this was the angle you were going to pursue.

    BUT, this is soooo much better than all of those! i can tell you are putting a lot of thought into this story line. it’s definitely paying off!

  3. Riley, you made me cry!!!! This chapter was… WOW, I’m at loss of words as for now!

    You captured perfectly the characters of Jill and Claire, the “whatever I have to do, it’s gonna get done” mentality of Claire, Jill’s courage and, at the same time, fear…

    “Lindsay looked at Jacobi. He knew what she was going to say. She could tell. “I think I’m the beast.”
    “He’s the curse. … I am what I am now because of Kiss-Me-Not. This is what he has turned me into.””
    Aaaaah, even re-reading this makes me cry. It’s so good, it makes perfect sense even though i wouldn’t want it to be true. But it IS true, in your story, in the show. It fits in PERFECTLY and that makes it so powerful…

    ““If I get to her in time, the curse is lifted, because, even in these circumstances, which have been far from ideal… sometimes… with Cindy… I’m the person I used to be,””
    Bwaaaaaa. Have I told you how much i love you for creating such a perfect story? really.

    Oooh, and let’s talk about Jill and her refusal to admit her best friend’s faults. And Jacobi taking her side even though saying those things must have hurt him…….

    ““Sounds like a Cindy word,””
    Such a cute cute line that made me almost yell with rage! I again am at loss of words and adjectives to express my hate for Ashe. How in hell did he dare use a Cindy word???????????????? It was THEIR word, THEIR secret and THEIR love and he had NO right to do that.

    “While it was true that she’d never trusted Ashe, she’d never thought him to be her guy either.”
    As much as I HATE Ashe, I am not totally convinced about him being the KMN killer… Oh well, I’ll have to wait to find out, won’t I? (But I can’t assure you I’ll wait patiently!)

    ““Jacobi, no offense,” Claire said gently, “but you were shot in the head.””
    Heh. 😀

    Wooooooooow.This story gets better and better, please keep going!!! Possibly soonish? (See, no bossiness. Does this grant me with a new chapter, like, today?)

  4. I stumbled on your site a few days ago and have been trying to get through your fics ever since…I have yet to read Temporary Girlfriend, and I definitely love this one. Please update soon!

    I also love how everything just came so very full circle in this chapter. Here’s to hoping they find Cindy soon…

  5. I wanted to add that if the three coming episodes are half as good as this story, I’ll be a happy camper.

    And speak of which, I’ve read more spoilers (I just can’t help myself) and if the one for episode 1X12 turns out to be true, all I can say is Holy Crap!!!

    Is it the end of April yet?

  6. Remember this, there is absolutely nothing, and I repeat, NOTHING wrong with being a Lindsay/Cindy junkie.

    I saw a spoilerish nugget in a magazine article, and I think I may know what that spoiler is. As soon as I read it, I had a guess as to who was going to be… uh, you know.

  7. There isn’t? Oh,thank God! Cause, I swear I was about to check myself into some sort of rehab facility.

    And now we have an actual date april 29th.

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