Inamorata (21/36) – WMC fic

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

She could have figured it out sooner, if she hadn’t been so off her game. Officers could have been sent to Cindy’s rescue while Ashe was busy being entertained by her recounting of Kiss-Me-Not’s sins. Her emotions had taken over. Sometimes they had been beneficial, other times detrimental, but one thing was for absolute certain – She was human after all.

And she made mistakes. But there would be plenty of time for the self-flagellation once she knew how brutal it needed to be, after she found Cindy and saw what condition she was in due to her own ineffectiveness in connecting dots that seemed independent of each but were actually linked the whole time.

This was knowledge Lindsay had possessed since before Cindy was taken, since before Cindy even came to the safe house that night and elevated herself to a position of greater risk all out of love for her.

Back then, Ashe’s plans, they weren’t necessarily plans for Cindy. They weren’t necessarily not for her either. He could have picked Cindy just as easily as Jill or Claire. It was definitely going to be one of them.

And he was definitely planning. Lindsay just hadn’t realized it at the time. She wasn’t looking for it, because Ashe hadn’t dropped any of those clues that he was Kiss-Me-Not, the proof that she’d been waiting to hear. Only now did she understand that she had been listening for all the wrong things.

It was one of their typical conversations, where she took part and then immediately purged it from her mind. She wouldn’t have responded to his initial query on the subject at all if not to come to Tom’s defense, because he wasn’t there to speak for himself.

They were waiting for him to come into his office for one of his updates, to find out how far along they were on the Kiss-Me-Not killings, and, therefore, how long it might be before she could fully return to her day job.

It was, by no means, mandatory that Ashe keep Tom in the loop. He had extended the offer as a professional courtesy. What a disingenuous choice of words. There was no courtesy in what Ashe was doing. There was expectation. He expected Tom to be appreciative. He wanted to make Tom like him. He needed as many people in power pulling for him as he could get.

From the beginning, was there a single action Ashe had taken that hadn’t been part of the bigger picture, the ultimate plan? Lindsay sincerely doubted it now.

“Nice house. Shame,” Ashe had said, leaning up to inspect something on Tom’s desk.

He pulled a paper back with him and showed it to Lindsay.

It was a printout, a photograph of a fire-damaged building. There was another photo beside it on the page, the residence pre-destruction, a three-bedroom house in a middle class neighborhood, the kind of home where suburban dreams were built in an urban setting.

Lindsay had seen flyers like it before. They made them to give to the investigators as part of arson files. Somebody had torched the place, or at least it was suspected.

“Do you think he was the fire starter?” Ashe joked. “You were married to him. Does he have a little pyro in him?”

Lindsay gave Ashe a good, well-deserved glare before dropping her gaze back to the images.

It was their house… once. Hers and Tom’s. It was the house they lived in when they were married, when Kiss-Me-Not first came into their lives, when she’d fallen headlong into the obsession, when their marriage had ended because of it.

“We used to live in that house,” she told Ashe, hoping that would end the conversation.

“Really? Wow. Sorry.” As usual, he didn’t sound it. “Must be painful to see it like that.”

“It’s really not that big of a deal,” she responded.

It was a bigger deal than she made it out to be, but it wasn’t as painful as she might have expected either. She had some good memories from that house, but she had some bad ones too, including the worst one of all.

“Clearly your ex-husband feels differently,” Ashe said.

She was really over his infatuation with, and need to reference, her past relationship with Tom. Since he’d first discovered that they were once married, it seemed a favorite pastime of his.

Ashe had put the picture back where he found it, and when Tom came in and saw it lying in plain view, he quickly covered it with a stack of files. So, Lindsay had never mentioned anything about it, which meant that Tom had no way of knowing that Ashe had seen it. She was the only person who knew that.

That was on purpose too. If she didn’t find Cindy in time, it would be on her alone. Ashe wanted her to be sole carrier of that responsibility. Of blame if she failed.

They’d all known where they were heading when she started in the direction of the house, so there were no surprised exclamations when they reached their destination. Just silent comprehension.

Lindsay parked a block over. The back of the house was barely visible through the maze of close-sitting residences. It wasn’t luck that this property was available for his use. That would be far too coincidental. Aside from all of Ashe’s other transgressions, there was an unsolved arson case that she felt confident could now be put to rest.

She pulled her gun out and checked it, then stared out the window at the charred remains, still standing but certainly not sound.

“I’m going to go in and get her,” she told them quietly. “If Ashe comes out, call Tom.”

“No way, Lindsay,” Jill said vehemently. “You are not going in there by yourself.”

Lindsay turned around in her seat. This was her court now. No one else got a say.

“I am not putting you in danger, and I am not waiting for backup. Every second he is alone with Cindy…”

“I know,” Jill cut her off, because she didn’t want to hear.

Good thing, because Lindsay didn’t particularly want to have to say it.

“But can’t we go ahead and call Tom? They could be on their way,” Claire tried to mediate.

“I’m not risking that some trainee will leave a siren on. If Ashe knows we’re coming, he will kill her,” Lindsay insisted. “Listen, I know that you would like to do more. I would hate to be in your place. But you need to let me do this by myself.”

She looked to Jacobi. He knew exactly what she was saying. He nodded, just barely, one time.

“We’ll be out here,” he uttered quietly.

Jill exhaled loudly, but didn’t say anything. She had to know that Jacobi’s agreement meant she wouldn’t be making any escapes from the vehicle.

“Be careful” was all Claire said. If she didn’t know her so well, Lindsay would have never known that she was trying not to cry.

“As soon as she’s safe, and he’s… I’ll call you.”

She threw open her door and got out of the car before they could say anything in return.

If it could only be that simple. But nothing ever could. Cindy’s safety, Ashe out of the way, these things would be a lot harder to come by than just walking through the door and making it happen. There were so many things that could go wrong, but, of all the things to dread as she walked toward the house, it was the image with which she might be greeted that Lindsay feared the most.

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  1. Ok, didn’t see that location coming. Really getting into this one now, I was a little apprehensive with the violent beginning…but I guess I shouldn’t have doubted


  2. wooow, this and the chapter before this one are full of tension and totally awesome!! I enjoyed every single word of them, you’re really great!

    I want Lindsay to find Cindy, and I want a happy ending, and I want to see them together freely for once and, more importantly, I want Cindy to be SAFE! A little injured would be fine too, but only a little! Okay, now that I’ve commissioned the next chapter I’m happy! 😀
    No, really. I can’t wait to read it!!! This suspence is killing me….. (and I know you’ll be glad about it)

    I don’t have much time so no long comment for now. But my favourite part here was Jacobi’s approval and how it seemed to be so important for Lindsay! (not that his objection would have stopped her…)

    So, again, THANKS! and keep them coming!

  3. i started reading ur fics yesterday and i finshed today… just shows how much of a life i have… but i loved all of it. i cant wait till u post the next chapter im over excited. just keep em coming and i will stick aroudn and read them all. its offical im a loyal fan now.

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