Pairing: Lindsay/Danny (also: just Lindsay)
Challenge/Prompt: fanfic100, 034. Not Enough, and psych_30, #24. Skinner Box
Genre: Het (gen)
Summary: They tried their best but they couldn’t fix her.
Author’s Notes: Written on the coach back from Cambridge University yesterday (not going there; it’s not for me. Pretty, but not for me). Love to justian, widowedanthem, little_red_kite, radioactivechip and zeolite_12 for helping me figure out, in the form of a very excessive and random conversation, that “elegy” was the word I wanted, not “eulogy”.
Being irritating, I have completely spoiled myself for the rest of season three of CSI:NY. While I don’t actually spill out all the spoilers, I faintly allude to some of them, so if you’re in the UK or somewhere like that, and want to stay completely clean and spoiler free, don’t read this.
It’s not that you don’t want to control it; it’s more that you can’t.
You think in shades of grey and blue that spatter themselves with red all too regularly, like it’s all you’re made of now. Pastel colours suit you like misery, red is for fear and flames and him and you think maybe green is the one you like best. Sunlight glinting off your hair and trying not to laugh. It’s always been your shade, but whenever you wear it people die. Well, more people die, anyway.
His mouth finds yours in the dark, hands light on your skin like he’s afraid of breaking you. And this is almost funny, because he doesn’t even know the truth about who you are and who you were and the awkwardly jagged space in between. It’s probably just as well, ghosts of fingers over you and inside you with only the slightest hint of a tremble that implies he needs this as badly as you do.
You could tell him but that would make the words and situation real and close and terrifying.
Years ago (years and years but closer than you can count, still), you sat in the window seat of your house and wept into a pillow until the sunset was golden and raw and you made a dozen decisions with your throat aching from sobs and your eyes streaming and your head thumping with the world’s worst migraine. You were sick of being the Little Glass Girl, wrapped all up in bubble wrap so the cracks and scars wouldn’t show (maybe if they shut you in tight and safe enough they’d be able to undo everything that happened, make you whole again). Shielding you from the world’s damnation of pity, but condemning you always to be pale and morose and tragic. You hated it.
The trembling starts somewhere after he turns the lights out, all impossible shards of dark, the air-conditioning in your apartment is less than functioning and everything tastes like heat. Burning and blazing but it isn’t comforting. He smoothes sweaty strands of hair from your neck to kiss your skin, soft little kisses like butterflies.
Poor Little Thing. They kept you mourning longer than you would have thought possible, never let you move on or past it until even your therapist looked at you in despair and admitted defeat. In New York no one knows and no one suspects because no one read your background file. It’s a relief but it’s also a little terrifying trying not to admit the truth, being around people who only see you as a bright and perky country girl. They don’t try to protect you and you don’t ask for it, but it’s cold and disconcerting without the safety net suffocating you. There are so many things you’re not ready for.
Maybe they didn’t think of this when they were treating you like an invalid for ten fucking long years.
“Please,” you mumble because it’s so damn hot and you’re so on edge that the tentative brushes of his hands aren’t nearly enough. “I need more.”
He breaks through the glass walls that people who apparently cared erected around you so fast it makes you gasp. He kisses you hard and fuck, there are teeth, and it’s crazy because no one ever touched you like this before, always so afraid of leaving evidence or sending you spiralling into a pit of despair, unable to realise that you had to be more than your tragedies and your losses (it’s possible that you’re not, but you’ve never had the chance to find out).
Breathless and shaking, his teeth mark your breasts and you could suffocate from the sheer heat. Making love in the dark and there’s the tiniest of scars on your elbow where you fell over as a kid, a bruise on your knee that you can’t remember the source of, the calluses on your palms from the rawhide braiding you did as a kid, and he moans when you run your roughened hands over his skin. It’s hot and firm and soft under your touch, and he bites into your lip and you hope he makes it bleed just so that you can feel something, anything.
People knitted you sweaters (always in green; your favourite colour but you can have too much of a good thing) and baked you fruit pies (you ate so much cherry pie you were sick every day for a week; it made an interesting change from being weak and helpless, but it wasn’t much better) and whispered behind your back when they saw you until you couldn’t bring yourself to leave the house. It was safe in there, if tiring, mom and dad trying to make it feel safe and quiet. The nightmares wouldn’t fade anyhow, red on blue, grey on blue and red, all twisted up like nausea and you woke up screaming in your room with the green sweaters and the cards of goodwill that were sickly-sweeter than the pie.
It was soul-destroying but it was quiet and you liked the idea that all they were trying to do was make you feel like everything would be able to go back to being normal again. Try so hard they could undo the past and erase the empty spaces.
He sucks a nipple so hard that your fingers curl in his hair and you count stars under your eyelids, hissing between your teeth, hair sticking damply to your face as you turn your head. He’s laughing and you try to count as his fingers slide teasingly slowly up your thighs, arching your back and trying not to scream for what you want. One, two, three. Holy shit. It’s touch and sensation and you dig your fingernails into his shoulders because you’re closer to the edge than you think you should be, and you imagine him grinning (even if you can’t see) because he knows what he does to you. Or maybe he doesn’t.
His fingers are slick as he slides them out of you, achingly slow, leaving you groaning and frustrated.
“Patience, Montana,” he whispers, almost laughing, and you clench your eyes shut tight to stop from screaming aloud.
Men who slept with you tended to come out of the whole thing looking guilty, as though they should have been punished for actually touching you, taking you out of your box and getting you dirty or whatever cheap metaphor you want to use. They all wanted you safe, quiet, docile, and so when you announced your wish to become a CSI everyone looked at you like they couldn’t believe what you were saying because that wasn’t part of their game plan for you. You’re not entirely sure what they thought they were going to do with you forever – maybe they just wanted to keep you perpetually locked inside under a dust sheet, like a precious piece of furniture everyone’s too tentative to use.
Warm latex and warm skin and he slides into you easily because you’re so desperate for him and his touch. Your mouth falls open and he stops it with his kiss, twisting your mind up into vague erratic pieces while you try not to scream. You’re tight around him and his mouth tastes like blood or maybe yours does, lines so blurred that maybe you’ll be one for a minute.
You like that idea. You’d like to be him. Strength in numbers, and he’s got his problems but they’re not yours and the idea of being trapped all tight inside him is sort of safe; you’ll be with him until you’re fixed and better (as though trauma is some kind of disease that a band aid and some aspirin can heal over – look mom, no scars!) and that sounds sort of nice. He could probably fix you, if you asked him nicely. But you know now that you won’t. You’re sick of the boxes and the protection and the censorship.
“I’m not made of glass,” you mumble against his mouth, “You can’t break me. Stop –holding – back.”
The sound he makes shoots right down your spine and then he’s thrusting inside you harder than ever. You want to scream but you can’t and your arms wrap around him, nails scraping down his back and God, likes that, doesn’t he, moaning and groaning and your mind splits into a thousand pieces and you howl. And in that moment you realise something so hard it almost blinds you.
They had their sweetness and their anxiety and their love, and they tried their best, but they didn’t (couldn’t) fix you.
And you never wanted them to.
You’re irreparably broken and what happened shouldn’t have happened, not ever, not like that, but it did and now you’re all trapped in the middle, torn between wanting to be sad forever and wanting to be someone new, Lindsay Monroe, fuck but she could be perfect. Maybe it’s too late but maybe it isn’t.
He moans into your neck and then his mouth finds yours again, deep, aching, needing you forever.
Next day, though, he’s coming to realise that the version of Lindsay they created out of the shell you were and stuck together and sent out into the world like a kid on her first day of school, shoes shined and hair brushed and full of other people’s fragile hopes, isn’t actually who you are. It’s not in his casual flirtation or his smiles or even in his eyes, and for a minute or two you can kid yourself that he understands and can take the person you really are (or think you are because who really can be sure?).
But he’s not calling you Montana any more.