Inamorata (16/36) – WMC fic

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

“Are you going to say anything?”

What was there to say? If Ashe wasn’t the killer, if someone else was Kiss-Me-Not, they had no idea who that person might be. They didn’t have any leads, because there had never been any real leads. Cindy would suffer. Cindy would die at his hands. If someone else had her, they would never find him in time.

Lindsay stared down at the photograph, but she wasn’t looking at it. Her focus was more specific than that. It was the hands in the photograph, the hands holding Cindy, that her eyes were unblinkingly locked on. There were no unique marks, no tattoos or scars, not even a prominent mole or freckle. They were perfectly unadorned with no identifying characteristics. She lifted her eyes to Ashe’s hands, where they were folding and unfolding impatiently on the table. Those hands were just as plain. There was nothing at all distinctive about them.

“Inspector Boxer?” Ashe asked.

Lindsay’s eyes moved back down to the photograph, back to Ashe’s hands. They could easily be one and the same.

“Lindsay,” Tom said quietly from his position by the door.

She didn’t look at him. She didn’t have to. His hands she knew. He had a scar on the knuckle of his left middle finger. A bloody kitchen accident. If these were Tom’s hands in the photograph, she would recognize them. These hands couldn’t possibly be Jacobi’s either. How many people had hands without the slightest tell? Her own hands had tells. Cindy’s did. She would know Cindy’s hands anywhere. Jill and Claire both had imperfections that she was certain she would recognize if they were put before her in print. But the vast majority of people had hands that could never be told one from the other. Like Ashe’s hands. Perfectly indistinguishable. He was only one in millions.

Plus, she knew where he’d been all day. Let her not forget that.

“Okay, then I’ll start,” Ashe stated, leaning back in his chair. “I’ve been doing some thinking, looking back through the files. You know what I realized?”

He paused for long enough that it became clear he wasn’t going to continue until he was sure he had her attention. So Lindsay looked up at him. She was too numb to be sure what her own body was conveying, whether her gaze was completely devoid of emotion or if there was too much, but the innate detective part of her almost definitely saw a brief, well-controlled flinch when her eyes met with Ashe’s. If it was really there, he recovered quickly enough. If it was there.

“This flower thing, it was good in theory, but the other victims, they all died around roughly the same time according to the coroner’s reports. So, I’m betting you don’t have the life expectancy of those flowers. I would say you only have until midnight.”

Her eyes went to the clock on the wall automatically. She had no idea how long she stared at it, but, somehow, the fact that she could no longer tell time came as no surprise to her.

“That’s less than ten hours,” Ashe probably thought that he was being helpful.

Lindsay felt better when she didn’t know.

She turned back to him. To his hands. She stared at them. It seemed like slow motion as he unclasped them and held them up in a questioning gesture.

“With that in mind… do you think we can get started?”

Good Agent Ashe. So eager to do get down to business, to learn everything that there was to learn about the Kiss-Me-Not Killer.

Because he didn’t know.

Not once in the time that they had spent together did Ashe offer up a single indication that he was Kiss-Me-Not. All of that inside information, the aspects that Lindsay had subconsciously, yet somehow at the same time deliberately, withheld, had she really expected him to slip up and make mention of one? Did she really think that a detail of the crimes, something that he would have no way of knowing unless he was the killer, would fall from his lips and then she would know? She would just be sure, without any doubt, that Ashe was Kiss-Me-Not, throw him face first into a wall, slap her cuffs on him, be done with the obsession, hug Jill and Claire, have a beer with Jacobi, and show up at Cindy’s door liberated and reckless, and when the effervescent young redhead answered, she would step in before she was invited, knowing that she was wanted, take Cindy’s face into her hands and finally find out what it was like to kiss her.

That’s what it was supposed to be like for them. Impulsive and unexpected and perfect.

Cindy was well aware of Kiss-Me-Not’s effect on her life, on her personally, but, still, she was never supposed to witness it. Cindy wasn’t supposed to know what she was like in the midst of the mania. Cindy wasn’t supposed to see her like this. She was certainly never supposed to know Kiss-Me-Not. She could know of him. She could know about him. But Cindy was never, ever supposed to really KNOW him. Not like she did. She didn’t want Cindy inside this man’s mind. She didn’t want her anywhere near him. She should have been on the outskirts. If she and Cindy were destined to happen, and Lindsay secretly believed, or maybe just hoped, that one day they would, they were supposed to happen after Kiss-Me-Not was done and gone.

It was supposed to be different.

Their first kiss wasn’t supposed to come out of such desperation, or from Cindy trying to make her feel less alone. Lindsay wasn’t supposed to be so rough with her, and, after, she was supposed to treat Cindy like she deserved to be treated, like she really wanted to treat her, not the way that she had.

One slip of the tongue, one clue that he knew a well-guarded secret, and she could have tagged Ashe as the Kiss-Me-Not Killer and relegated him to nothing more than a painful memory. She could have gone to Cindy then with unguarded love and abandon. She could have had the fantasy. But Ashe had never presented her that freedom, and, in return, he’d gotten nothing from her.

But he interrogated. He demanded. He desperately solicited. And, now, he was staring across the table at her again, yearning like an ignorant student who wanted nothing more than to be a scholar in the subject at hand.

This is what Ashe was after. It’s what he’d been seeking. This is what he’d been working for the whole time. Everything she knew. Everything she’d seen. Everything she had on Kiss-Me-Not that he didn’t. Ashe wanted it.

And Ashe could have it.

He could have all of it, every infinitesimal detail, thought, impression, inkling. She didn’t want it anymore. If he wanted to play cat and mouse with some twisted, sadistic woman-hating psychopath, he was more than welcome to all the inside knowledge she was tired of keeping inside herself. He could have every tiny fleck of the Kiss-Me-Not murders. Anything that she could remember, it was his now.

Lindsay got up from the chair. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Tom come to attention, as if expecting to have to rush forward and catch her. She walked the length of the table, took a legal pad from the supply that Ashe had brought in, fished a pen from the nearby box, dropped pen on pad and shoved it down the table at him. He caught the pad just before it careened off the edge. The pen kept going, quietly landing near his feet, and Ashe had to bend down to retrieve it off the floor. It brought Lindsay a severe sense of satisfaction.

“All three victims had manicures. It’s not something that we paid any attention to on Sarah Rice. But I did notice it. The other women had them too. They were fresh.”

Ashe’s shock was brief, then he hurried to uncap the pen.

“Like they’d had them done the day of their murders?” he asked.

“These were not people whose lifestyles afforded them that kind of luxury,” Lindsay reminded him. It was a reminder, because she knew that he knew that. “I think Kiss-Me-Not did them, proving his need for both control and perfection.”

Ashe looked at her oddly, smiled a little, this time she knew she wasn’t seeing things, and started taking notes.

“Three different women. Three completely different lives,” Lindsay continued. ‘There wasn’t much they had in common. But, in interviews, it came out that they had all read To Kill a Mockingbird not long before their deaths.”

“What do you think that has to do with the murders?” he asked with overt curiosity.

“I don’t. I think it’s just an incredibly peculiar coincidence, made even more peculiar by the fact that people in each of their lives felt the need to mention it.”

“A coincidence?” Ashe repeated.

“That’s what I said.”

“Then why are you telling me?”

“You wanted everything. Write it down.”

With a look that might have become an eye roll if this weren’t something he was absolutely hungry to consume, he returned to his note-taking.

There were no more questions from him after that. Once Lindsay got into the thick of it all, he was too preoccupied with devouring to interrupt.

Lindsay told him all that she knew, every insignificant detail, each small fact that she could recall. If she’d seen it and, for one reason or another, it didn’t make the case file, Ashe now knew it too, whether it made any difference or not. Most of it didn’t.

Ashe kept his mouth shut and listened, trying to record it all verbatim. The scratch of his overzealous writing evoked images of the only other person who had ever been so interested in quoting the things she said word-for-word.

Cindy. Sitting next to her at Papa Joe’s, making shorthand notes and occasionally smiling over at her without her hand ever slowing. She’d end up with pages of script that were crooked and messy, because she wanted to participate in the conversations and chronicle them simultaneously. Or walking down the hall together, and Cindy reaching into her bag for a notepad whenever she opened her mouth to say anything.

And now Ashe couldn’t get enough of what she had to say. And Lindsay wasn’t about to stop until she’d said it all. Every minute she spent with him in this room was a minute that Cindy was left out there. If Ashe was right about the time, it was slipping away from them. If someone else had Cindy, they were wasting invaluable moments.


“Is that everything?” Ashe asked when the words finally ceased to flow from her.

There was something breathless and flushed about him. Lindsay had never seen him quite so flustered? Overwhelmed? Exhilarated? She didn’t know him well enough to know. She had never wanted to know him like that.

“That’s everything,” Lindsay assured him in a monotone. It was the truth. She hoped that he could tell. He’d known when she was withholding. Now she needed for him to know that she wasn’t. “Now go find Cindy.”

She wanted him to leave. And she didn’t want him to leave. But she needed him to. It was the only way.

“Okay,” Ashe said, looking up at her with a look of mild indulgence. “I’ll do that.”

But he didn’t move. He just continued to watch her, for what, she had no idea.

“First tell me about your relationship.”

Lindsay twitched. She couldn’t help it. She didn’t want to, but it was instantaneous. She moved in front of him, crossing her arms, and stared down at him across the table. Ashe looked content, in control. He recapped the pen and twirled it between his fingers slowly.

Fucking bastard.

But if that’s what it took, he could have that too. And he could have the truth. She was far too weary to try to concoct clever lies.

“It started after you came here, after Martha, after we were assigned guards, the night that I was shot,” she began in a hard whisper. “Cindy came to the safe house to make sure that I was okay, to tell me that she was there for me. She threw her soul at my feet. I took it. And then I tried to destroy it. I wanted her to leave me alone and, after the way I behaved, she was going to. But I couldn’t take it. The thought of her hating me, it was the worst thing I could imagine… at the time.”

For once, she didn’t doubt the quirk of Ashe’s lips. She saw it. He wanted to react. He wanted to smile.

“We could only see each other here. We thought it would be safe. We were careful,” Lindsay quietly recounted. “But I guess there must have been some expectation on his part, he must have suspected something from us, because some perverse piece of shit put a camera in the bathroom.”

This time, it was Ashe who twitched.

“You know the rest,” Lindsay finished.

Ashe simply nodded, as if in agreement, but it was his acknowledgment that he knew that it was all that he was getting from her.

He got up, pushing his chair neatly back under the table. It was astonishing how well-mannered he could be when he’d gotten his way.

“Lieutenant,” he said to Tom, before turning and walking out. He gave Lindsay no further notice.

Tom stepped up to the table, watching Ashe walk off, obviously confused that the conversation had ended so abruptly.

“Follow him and blanket the FBI headquarters,” Lindsay uttered, watching Ashe’s departure through the open door.

“Linds,” Tom said.

It was all that he needed to say for her to know that they were going to disagree about this, but that came as no surprise. She knew that she and Tom would clash. He was bound by both his nature and his position to follow the evidence.

“If he is right about the time, we still have a few hours Lindsay. We shouldn’t be wasting manpower.”

“He knows the time,” Lindsay returned.

“Ashe was here and at the FBI all day.”

She didn’t want to hear it. She already knew and it didn’t change anything.

“Get out.”


“I need to think.”

Tom stared at her, then sighed heavily and headed for the door.

“Blanket the FBI, Tom. Do it.”

He looked back in at her and left her alone. It was his call. She couldn’t make him. She just had to trust him to trust her. And if he didn’t…”

Somewhat dizzy, she pulled out the chair and set down at the table. She slid the picture of Cindy back over to her.

Why Cindy?

Because he wanted to hear her talk about the crimes. He wanted the details. Wasn’t that what he had consistently demanded from her, accused her of withholding? Give me the details. Tell me what’s in your head that isn’t on the paper.

If he had simply killed her, he wouldn’t be able to extract all those things that weren’t written down. Did he know that this was the only thing that would make her tell him everything? Or was he only guessing?

What satisfaction would he possibly get from hearing the details of his own crimes? Was it just wanting to know how much he could get inside of her? If that was the motive, hadn’t she shown him that? Wasn’t an attic full of his greatest hits enough proof that she was completely under his control?

Of course, when dealing with a sick fuck, wasn’t it preferable to say you couldn’t possibly understand his mind than that you did understand it?

No. Not when he had something of yours that you couldn’t possibly stand to lose.

She had to be inside his mind. She had to understand his thinking.

The picture, this image of Cindy so unwillingly submissive, it had crippled Lindsay instantly. She’d fallen back on the evidence, because that’s what evidence was for. Evidence was proof and proof was never misleading.

Except when it was.

All of the evidence pointed to someone else. The picture, Ashe’s car parked at the FBI when he wasn’t at the station, the fact that Ashe never did reveal a secret of Kiss-Me-Not’s and was genuinely, transparently, thrilled as they were revealed to him. Those things said that Ashe wasn’t the culprit, that there was some random person out in the city who had Cindy in his possession.

She had only a few hours left, because Ashe was right about the time. The deaths were all around midnight. It was in the reports. That’s how he knew. When she’d offered up the flowers, she’d been hoping to buy more time. More time from Ashe. Because the evidence said that it wasn’t him, but her instincts still demanded that it was. Her instincts were shaky right now, she would freely admit that. There was so much uncertainty. She could not afford to be wrong. So she couldn’t trust the evidence and she couldn’t trust her own instincts, but there was one thing that she could trust.

Cindy’s instincts.

Though she had once said that Cindy was too young to have them, Cindy’s instincts were something that she secretly revered. They’d been right enough times to warrant absolute conviction.

Cindy’s instincts had been wary of Ashe from the beginning, and Lindsay wasn’t about to allow herself to be misled this time.

She had her angle. She’d gotten inside his mind. She understood him now.

She understood everything.

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  1. Maybe Ashe isn’t the KMN but he is an obsessed psycho who thought that by kidnapping Cindy he could get Lindsay to give up more info?

    Or maybe it’s Bush.

    Either way this fic is amazing. Please don’t stop.

  2. Hey there, I really can’t start by saying yet another time how much I loved this chapter because i would lose my credibility since I say that EVERY time.. So I won’t write that (I’ll just let you imagine it..).

    “be done with the obsession, hug Jill and Claire, have a beer with Jacobi, and show up at Cindy’s door liberated and reckless, and when the effervescent young redhead answered, she would step in before she was invited, knowing that she was wanted, take Cindy’s face into her hands and finally find out what it was like to kiss her.”
    I adored this paragraph, it would have been a perfect, perfect way for things to go. I especially loved the “knowing that she was wanted” part, it is the little things like these that make your stories great!

    I don’t know what to think about Ashe and Lindsay telling him everything. I guess I’ll just wait and see where you lead us!

    “She’d end up with pages of script that were crooked and messy, because she wanted to participate in the conversations and chronicle them simultaneously.”
    Ah! That’s so absolutely true and cute!

    ““First tell me about your relationship.””
    Awww. You’re pushing it, man! I REALLY don’t know what to think about him. Is he just asking for the sake of his investigation or is he deeply enjoying all the details he couldn’t have gotten from his potential victims and Cindy?

    Apparently though Lindsay is convinced that he’s the KMN Killer… Is she sure about that? Oh god, because if she’s mistaken Cindy just has a few hours to live and we can’t afford to lose her, we love her too much!

    I neeeeeeeeeed the next chapterrrrrrrrrr 😀

    thanks for this one, for now. and hugs!!

  3. Love your stuff – just found it randomly and I er…couldn’t put it down ! I love the Lindsay/Cindy pairing.
    What the hell is Ashe up to? Pace, pace, pace…I’m typically like Boxer – I can’t stand doing nothing – tell me more!

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