Pairing: Lindsay/Hawkes [Hints at canonish Lindsay/Danny]
Challenge/Prompt: fanfic100, 072. Fixed, and psych_30, #15. Halo Effect
Summary: Lindsay just wants someone to save her.
Author’s Notes: Halo Effect- when someone assigns positive/negative traits to someone after seeing one positive/negative trait. Just when I thought I couldn’t fuck up Lindsay any further. I have messed a little with the events of “Sweet Sixteen”, “Raising Shane” and “Silent Night” to do this, spoilers for all three and bits of the rest of the third series. Written in 100-word drabbles because… yay.
It’s sudden, too sudden to pinpoint, but there’s pain, more pain than there should be, and she lets out a shriek that she doesn’t mean to let out but she sees it slithering away, black, black, and someone’s going after it and she can feel her heart rate increasing and panic spreading through her, because, oh, because she didn’t survive for this to happen, and she refuses to die like this.
But there’s light and dark and she can’t breathe and she would be screaming if she could and she’s drowning on dry land and no one can save her.
He comes with her in the ambulance which is nice because she’s remembering another ambulance ride in another time covered in blood that wasn’t hers and too afraid to speak.
She can just about hear the siren and her hand hurts and she keeps it pressed against her chest and elevated and he keeps promising that they’ll get antivenin to her and all will be fine.
And Lindsay wants to believe him but she can’t look at anything but her knees and she feels sick and it hurts and she thinks she could fall to pieces right here, right now.
“Linds, look at me.”
“Look. At. Me.”
Sheldon was a doctor, wasn’t he. It makes sense that he knows what to do.
“Linds, come on.”
She reluctantly looks up.
“Good.” He smiles and it’s like sunlight in the dark and fast-moving vehicle. “You’re doing great. Just keep breathing, just keep looking at me, you’re going to be fine.”
Lindsay manages to maintain eye contact, and he must have been a fantastic doctor. Beautiful bedside manner. She wonders if all his patients looked at him with his calm and empathetic expression and fell as hard as she’s falling now.
“It bit me,” she says. She thinks she’s more in shock than she was to begin with. “All those years on ranches and there were so many snakes around and I never got bitten once, but here, in the city…” Her breathing is ragged and she thinks she might be sick.
“Not long now,” Sheldon replies. He’s smiling, not a trace of a crack, no fear, no anxiety. But maybe he can see that Lindsay’s wavering. Whatever he can see, he reaches out and clasps her uninjured hand. “Just keep looking at me. Just me.”
She can’t help but obey.
Sheldon is right, of course. They administer antivenin and monitor her vitals for a while and she’s fine.
“You should get back to the crime scene,” she says quietly, suddenly not wanting to look at him because she’s afraid that he might not be real. Like a real-life Superman sitting at the end of her ER bed, flicking through her chart.
But that’s stupid. Lindsay no longer believes in heroes. Just in stone-cold science.
She doesn’t know what he reads into her silence. But he offers to drive her home, and she accepts because she’s too dizzy to say ‘no’.
Lindsay sits on her couch, picking the edge of her bandage, while Sheldon turns the lights on for her and makes her a mug of tea.
“I need to go,” he tells her eventually, looking wretched, “But call me if you need anything. Anything at all.”
“I think I just need some sleep,” she replies. There’s the briefest of pauses. “Thank you so much.”
He smiles and Lindsay knows then that she’s going to be all right.
For a moment, she thinks he might… but anyway, he kisses her hair swiftly and awkwardly, and doesn’t look back when he leaves.
Danny calls, and Lindsay assures him that she’s fine. Or at least, she will be fine.
Danny used to call her Montana before she turned him down, made her feel beautiful again when she thought she never would, has made her smile and made her cry more than any man ever has in her life.
But he doesn’t make her feel safe.
Lindsay knows that she shouldn’t judge men purely on how protected she feels around them, but with a past like hers, it’s not entirely unexpected.
She ends the call, and stares at the dark, and can’t even cry.
She dreams of blood and snakes and can’t wake up even when it feels like she’s suffocating.
Her chest aches when she finally struggles into consciousness, tears cold on her cheeks, arm throbbing with a kind of dull pain, every shadow in the apartment becoming twisted shapes until Lindsay has to bury her face in her pillow and scream for a while before she can leave the bed.
Call me if you need anything. Anything at all.
But she can’t tell him she needs saving from herself, so she doesn’t pick up the phone, and goes for a shower instead.
In a lot of ways, it’s a relief to get back to work. Stella gives her a hug, and Danny looks like he wants to give her one, but Lindsay has been pulling so far away from him recently he has no idea where he stands, so he settles for awkwardly patting her shoulder and avoiding her gaze. Mac gives her a real, genuine smile, a rare enough occurrence for Lindsay to really appreciate what it means.
“It’s good to have you back,” Sheldon tells her, and Lindsay knows that as long as he’s there, she’s safe.
It’s almost enough.
Another day ended, another killer caught. Even her hand doesn’t hurt as much as it did.
He looks awkward, which is different to the way she’s used to seeing him.
“Are you-” he begins, gesturing to her injury, the pristine bandage.
“I’m fine,” Lindsay promises him, “It’s something to call home about, at least.”
Sheldon manages to crack a smile, and then he’s serious again.
“When you’re better,” he begins, “Do you want to come out for a drink with me?”
“Of course I would.”
This time, she’s determined not to stand another member of the team up.
It isn’t her fault that it doesn’t come off this time.
Sheldon is arrested for murder.
Lindsay knows that he’s innocent, though, because even though she knows it’s crazy, she’s half-convinced that he can do no wrong. Not Sheldon with his grave eyes and steady hands and smile that makes the world a better place. Not him.
Shut behind glass and unable to see him and unable to help him she remembers futility from years ago, dead bodies and other people’s unwanted sympathy.
Lindsay has to keep running to the bathrooms to throw up, memories acidic bile on her tongue.
He’s not an angel or a hero or even a fixer, not any more. He puts puzzles back together and hopes they’re in the right order.
And he looks tired and smells like prison when she wraps her arms around his neck, and maybe he wants to say something, but he’s free and Lindsay has a migraine and when she kisses him he’s purity and light, which is fucking ridiculous but true anyway.
His hands cup her face, smooth her hair back, but he doesn’t break the kiss and it’s what she’s needed for longer than she wants to admit.
But Lindsay doesn’t tell him the truth.
Whatever he sees in her, that’s for him to know and her not to.
She adores him for being strength, for standing still in a world that trembles at the edges, for holding her hand and kissing the scars on the back of it as though to remind her that she can cheat death as often as she likes.
She doesn’t tell him about what happened when she was fourteen. She doesn’t tell him about Danny.
Sheldon is what she needs, but she knows that he’s still not quite enough.
No one is.