Pairings: Danny/Lindsay, Lindsay/Flack [hints at Mac/Peyton and one-sided Danny/Mac]
Challenge/Prompt: psych_30 #10, Approach-Avoidance and fanfic100, 044. Circle
Copyright: “I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Any More” by the Pet Shop Boys.
Summary: Lindsay is perhaps at her prettiest when sitting there pretending to be innocent.
Author’s Notes: For karaokegal, who gave me the lyrics. I was meant to be writing her some angst to cheer her up (is that a contradiction in terms? Oh well). I’m not sure what this turned into. It’s strange. Anyway. I’m a crap D/L shipper and we’ll leave it at that. Written in the form of 250-word drabble thingies.
(Did you get what you want?)
Lindsay is perhaps at her prettiest when sitting there pretending to be innocent, so very pretty that Danny almost gives it all up and just forgives her then and there. Her hair is curling around her shoulders, there’s the smallest of almost-smiles on her lips, her brown eyes are wide and she meets his gaze second for second. Waiting. Both of them waiting for the whole thing to shatter.
Danny can’t work out whether he should be grateful for the strained silence, that Lindsay isn’t leaping to her own defence in a stream of meaningless words, or if he should be worried that she isn’t even trying to justify her actions. There are too many grey areas here, except for the bits that aren’t grey at all, are a solid, bold, black-and-white smacking him in the face so hard he can almost feel the truth bruising.
They are both waiting for someone to say the first words, to begin or end a discussion, there needs to be talking of some kind, though Danny has what feels suspiciously like the beginnings of a migraine and Lindsay seems to be thinking that silence is the best way to deal with this whole situation. For all Danny knows, it is. Shouting doesn’t seem to have improved anything and rational, helpful words just won’t come.
But his stomach feels like it’s been scooped out and replaced by something cold and hard and heavy because, even after everything, Lindsay is still wearing her engagement ring.
(Do you know what it is? Do you care?)
It didn’t end because it never really began.
Lindsay could learn to pinpoint the problem; only she doesn’t, because she’s not entirely sure where she slipped up (she knows that she did and that’s the most important part, the fine details can be ignored because they don’t really matter). She’s entitled to make mistakes, because, in spite of her past, she’s still just about human (and her hands won’t stop trembling but then at least she knows that she can still feel. Sometimes she’s not sure).
She had been engaged to Danny for two weeks the first time. He was so in love with her that it terrified her, he whispered things into her ear that made her want to run and run and run and not ever look back (because the sheer weight of his love was crushing and she’d thought she wanted and maybe she didn’t). Even now, his warm hand wrapping around her wrist is enough to make her heart stop.
Lindsay thinks, with hindsight, that it was more than sheer blind fear that had her inviting Flack (no, Don, she should remember that by now) out for a drink after a spate of particularly nasty murders, but to be honest, she’s not sure what she was thinking. Though she knows that getting him just drunk enough and then kissing him was born of nothing but terror and the problem was that she just couldn’t stop.
Danny is waiting for some sort of explanation and she… can’t.
(Is he better than me?)
Peyton told him in the end, which was mad and stupid and sadistic, Danny has decided, because if Peyton knew then it means that everyone else found out long before he did (and couldn’t look him in the eye and inform him that his fiancée was screwing around behind his back with a man he used to tentatively call his best friend).
He can’t blame the messenger, Peyton’s eyes a mask of pain and mouth dragged into a sympathetic grimace as she pulled him aside and explained in the quietest of voices just what Lindsay was doing and that she thought he should know. No. Danny can hate that he heard the news in that stupid accent, he can hate Peyton for the way her fingers curl into the crook of Mac’s arm, his hand brushing her hair back from her face (but that’s another matter entirely and not one he’s thinking about – he’s just not), he can hate that Lindsay betrayed him in the first place… but he can’t hate Peyton because at least someone bothered to put him out of his misery.
That evening, he shouted a lot at Lindsay. All the questions he shouldn’t have asked and did because they were white-hot and flaming in his mind (what, does he fuck better than me? Is that it?) and she refused to dignify them with answers, face pale but determined, and all Danny wanted her to say was that it wasn’t true; but she wouldn’t – couldn’t – deny it.
(Was it your place or his? Who was there?)
The first time was very almost an accident (only not quite because she’d carefully orchestrated every last step of the way) and Lindsay made sure she was gone before Flack (Don, for God’s sake, why can she never remember that?) woke up. He’d been drunk, maybe drunk enough to wipe his mind clean, and waking up naked isn’t exactly incriminating. Lindsay wasn’t living with Danny yet, and by the time she’d had a hot shower and washed her hair and changed her clothes she could convince herself that it hadn’t happened. Sure, that day, Flack gave her an anxious look or six over the top of their latest corpse, but that could mean anything.
Except that a week later he cornered her, eyes too blue and too anxious and Lindsay sighed inwardly because somehow, in her mixture of terror and what-do-I-do-now, she’d forgotten that Flack was a good guy. The kind of guy who’d tear himself up inside over what he had or hadn’t done. His mouth was struggling to form words, as though the need to make everything ok was taking over, and Lindsay couldn’t face it from him. Not then.
She cut him off, three words into something that might have been an apology, fingers curling in the back of his hair and tugging his mouth down to meet hers. He resisted for a moment, then gave in.
Flack tasted like peppermint.
(What still keeps her awake is that the second time was in no way an accident.)
(Did you think it was wrong?)
Danny gives up pacing. Lindsay is still taking over most of the couch, head tilted in a way that he might call insolent but for the way her hands are clenched in her lap. Clenched to keep from shaking, he supposes, he’s interrogated enough suspects. The idea that Lindsay is a suspect breaks something unexpected inside him and it takes Danny a moment to remember that he’s supposed to be more angry than upset. Angry that Montana lied, turned around and revealed true colours in an ugly shade that Danny can’t handle.
Sometime in the future, Danny knows that he’ll have to be angry with Flack, have words and possibly fists, but he can’t blame Don for falling the way he did. He knows that if the positions were reversed, he’d do the same thing. Right now, he’ll settle for standing and glaring at Lindsay. She’s sitting ramrod-straight, knees pressed together, breathing too evenly. He wonders if she’s scared or guilty or quietly annoyed, and then wonders when he lost the ability to read her. If he’s been wrong all along.
They’re supposed to be talking and they’re not. Words form themselves in Danny’s head and all of them are bitter and sharp and practically obscene, and he’s shouted all that at Lindsay and she took it with quiet and determined grace. Not any more. Danny has to know if Lindsay is as brittle and hurt as he is, because he can’t handle this silence much longer. Not any more.
(Do you find that it's worse than it was?)
Danny isn’t overreacting and that’s depressing. Lindsay unclenches her hands to see how the shaking is holding up, and it’s getting worse. Danny’s eyes – that piercing blue that has always left her breathless – dart to where she trembles, then back up to her face. She almost wants to cry, but that’s shameless manipulation and she’s just about above that. She’s manipulated Flack (Don, she knows, she knows, but she’ll never remember) into a tight little corner, manipulated him into doing things he never would have done, but she can’t bring herself to do the same thing to Danny.
Huh. Maybe she does love him a little after all.
They need to talk. They need to find words from somewhere because it can’t continue like this. Except that Lindsay can’t tell Danny that his love scares the hell out of her, that she’s not sure what it is but when he holds her she imagines suffocating beneath his hands. She just can’t tell him that. So she’ll have to lie and whatever she says will hurt them both.
Danny has already wounded her emotionally, because his anger exploded and he said all these words that she knows he’ll try and take back one day, words born of the first, fresh feeling of betrayal, he’ll say that he didn’t mean them. But Lindsay knows that he did, and her head is still ringing with whore and bitch and just fucking get out of my sight. Dirty, ugly words.
So. Silence it is.
(Has it gone on too long?)
It figures, in some twisted, stupid, fucked-up way, that Peyton would take Mac and then fuck up Danny’s only chance of happiness. Well, maybe ‘only chance’ is a little bit melodramatic, but then there’s something about this situation that asks for melodrama.
When replaying the scene back over in his head, Danny adds things in. He knows that he shouldn’t; he’s been a detective for years, he knows the important of remembering the exact details, and he doesn’t care. He adds nasty little smug smiles to Peyton’s face, painting her up into something cruel and almost caricatured, because he wants to believe that what she did was an unbelievably bitchy act, not a gesture of friendship, because he doesn’t know how to handle that. Doesn’t want to handle that.
He doesn’t need to imagine Stella’s sorrowful half-smile as he stormed past, although he does wonder who she felt sorry for, and how long she’d known.
His key in the door, Lindsay turned at the sound, but there wasn’t a smile on her face and Danny thinks someone must have warned her that he knew and was coming to talk to her. That stings too. It’s all her fault and no one actually cares.
There’s still a broken lamp in her hall and he guesses that he swept it off and smashed it but most of the evening’s a blur; a blur of colour and fury and someone’s voice (his, he supposes), screaming how long have you been fucking me around?
(Do you mind that it hurts me?)
Flack does guilt beautifully. It suits him perfectly; Lindsay decided months ago that he should sleep with other people’s girlfriends more often. Guilt goes with his dark hair and blue eyes and the awkward way he bites his lower lip when he’s anxious. Yes, he’s fucking marvellous at shame; but less good at avoiding it in the first place. Lindsay sometimes thinks that he wanted it more than she did. But that’s an uncomfortable thought and leads her mind into places she doesn’t want it to go into. She’s fucked enough things up without that getting involved.
Lindsay is less good at guilt. She can feel it but it doesn’t go with the curls of her hair. And the terrible thing is that after a week or two of pretending to be happy to be engaged to Danny (or maybe she really was happy – she can’t work out her own feelings half the time; at least, not until it’s too late) and digging her fingernails into Don’s back to try and alleviate some of the panic attack, she really did stop feeling guilty about the whole thing. Somehow, it made a kind of sense.
There is no way that she can explain that to Danny either, not with him staring at her like she’s tugged his heart out of his chest and crushed it between her palms (a mental image that she really doesn’t like), so she tears her gaze from his and waits for the whole thing to snap.
(Because you're breaking my heart)
There comes a point when silence can only do so much, and Danny can’t stand here looking at Lindsay not looking at him any longer.
So he sits down, on the armchair opposite her couch, the couch where they’ve spent so many (much happier) afternoons. And if it was one mistake, one slip-up, maybe then he’d be able to forgive her. Maybe they could move on. Except that it wasn’t once, or twice, or even three times; it was six fucking months and Lindsay is sitting there shaking like he’s the one in the wrong. Danny has a right to be angry, he has every right in the world, and they both know it.
Lindsay’s mouth opens and closes and the tension sings. He wants to spit out: was it fun? Was that it? Am I not good enough? Do you want to marry him, or do you just want to go on fucking him behind my back? But he’s said those things in flaming fury, and repeating them quietly will just make this whole thing hurt far, far more than Danny wants it to.
“Montana,” he says quietly, because he can’t call her Lindsay, not at a time like this, and he thinks he shouldn’t be saying this because it’s coming out all wrong and he can’t stop, “You’re breaking my heart.”
Her eyes flood with tears.
“Fuck it Danny,” and her tone is all twisted up but he still flinches when she swears, “Fuck it, Danny, I know.”
(I don't know what you want but I can't give it any more)
Flack’s (Don, for fuck’s sake, why couldn’t she ever get it right?) thumb gently stroked up the side of Lindsay’s face, before he leaned in, mouth impossibly warm on hers. Her eyelids fluttered shut, unable to resist, the little voice in the back of her head that whimpered that she was doing the wrong thing had silenced itself weeks before and given up all hope.
When Danny kissed her, all she could hear was screaming, endless screaming, and sometimes, if it was a particularly bad day, the gunshots echoing against bathroom tiles. The reminder that everything Lindsay had ever loved curled up and died the minute it came into contact with her, everything she ever wanted reduced to little more than dust. She didn’t love Flack, and because of that simple, helpful fact, she heard nothing but a blissful silence when his mouth found hers.
The hand that curled in the back of his hair still had the ring Danny had given her on her finger, the tastefully cut diamond glinting in the really quite excellent lighting of Flack’s fourth-floor apartment. Neither of them noticed it any more. The same way the scarring on his stomach – the bomb that almost cost him his life – was no longer an issue. Lindsay didn’t know – or didn’t care enough to ask, one or the other or both – if she was the first person Flack had slept with since the accident.
And Danny’s eyes are accusing her and there’s absolutely nothing she can say.
(Was it cracking the code or just filling in time?)
There is a tentative, breathless moment, a moment so awful that Danny thinks he’ll remember it for the rest of his life, just because of the way he can feel the world tearing at the edges and there are a million choices he could make and he knows that all of them are going to end badly. There is no way of fixing this now, he realises, and when he swallows his throat hurts as though all the words he’s been not saying are cutting it to shreds.
Lindsay’s eyes are still glittering, dangerously close to something resembling tears, and he thinks: God, if she cries… She doesn’t get to cry, not after months and months of betraying him. She knew what she was doing. Oh, Danny could excuse this whole thing, saying that Montana has intimacy issues; that she barely knew what was going on, acting merely on instinct… But he can’t. Just one look into those guilt-ridden, tear-filled hazel eyes tells Danny that Lindsay is completely self-aware. She knew exactly what she was doing.
Danny has never done this sort of desperate misery before, and maybe he’s going about it completely wrong, but Lindsay is biting her lower lip and something’s going to shatter and he suddenly doesn’t want to be doing it any more. He wants to be anywhere but here.
Lindsay reaches for his arm, hands cold and shaking so hard it’s almost comical, in a sick sort of way, and Danny just can’t do this.
(Was that all?)
Restless, always restless, Danny gets back up and starts pacing again. Lindsay had set her heart so hard on Manhattan that her apartment is ridiculously small for the price, and her living room doesn’t really have the space for him to physically express how miserable and wound-up he is. He’s just about managed to admit that he’s hurt and now he drags himself away from her again, anger written all over his face. Lindsay momentarily hates him, for the way he can’t let himself be vulnerable around her. He can be vulnerable around certain others that she will not name (hugging Danny so hard while he sobbed and she told herself she wasn’t watching but oh, she was), but never with her.
Lindsay swallows what might once have been the beginnings of tears, because that’s not going to help anything, and reminds herself that whatever happens, whatever they do or don’t say, this is going to end with the door slamming behind him and a soul-destroying silence left behind. Well. Now at least she knows that.
“Danny,” she begins helplessly, because if all they’re going to do is exchange brittle, awkward words, then she might as well start.
“Do you love him?” He whirls around; there are all these shades of hurt and fury on his face that she’s never seen before.
“No!” Surprise makes her uncharacteristically blunt.
“Do you love me?”
The words get stuck, leaving her mouth moving soundlessly.
“It’s a simple question, Lindsay.”
“No. No, it isn’t.”
(So then why'd you go back to the scene of the crime?)
She can’t even tell him she loves him.
“Just answer the fucking question!” It comes out more like a snarl than Danny meant it to, fury and misery twisting the words.
“I can’t.” Lindsay isn’t looking at him, her hands are twisting almost compulsively in her lap, her voice cracks completely. He can’t tell if she’s crying or not, her face is hidden behind a curtain of frankly beautiful hair, but something’s snapped.
“Do you love me or not?” Danny demands, and he doesn’t recognise his voice. He wants to stop, and it’s too late now.
“I don’t know!” It explodes out of Lindsay, the words thick and twisted and she probably is crying now.
“Jesus Christ.” Danny starts pacing again, trying to relieve some of the anger, digs a battered packet of the cigarettes he’s meant to be giving up out of his pocket, lighting one.
“You know I don’t like it when you smoke in here,” Lindsay says, voice suddenly too calm, and that irritates him too.
“I don’t owe you fucking anything, Monroe,” he snaps, before he has time to think the words through properly.
Lindsay’s streaming eyes narrow, and she bites her mouth together, suddenly looking more angry than devastated.
“So that’s how we’re doing this, is it?” she asks, ice in her voice.
Danny didn’t mean for this to happen, but that doesn’t matter anymore.
“Yes,” he replies, realising that there’s no way for either of them to retain any sort of dignity. Not now.
(Did he call?)
Even with Danny staring at her like she’s every kind of evil child-torturing criminal they’ve ever arrested, cigarette clenched between his teeth because he’s pretending he’s not trembling (but, fuck, he is, they both are), Lindsay can’t find an explanation. Because, to put it simply, there isn’t one. There are no plausible excuses.
Flack (Don, as he kept telling her, but she couldn’t, she just couldn’t), he was there, he used to call her ‘Linds’ with the sweetest of smiles. He didn’t feel the need to ask for explanations, or talk to her about how she felt, or curl his fingers around her arm and look at her as though waiting for some kind of statement about a past she doesn’t want to think about and a future she’s terrified of. The fact that she was Danny’s girl was never addressed but never forgotten; and the whole thing worked, to a certain degree anyway, and if Peyton hadn’t got a conscience or some kind of bitchy streak, then it would have carried on very nearly working. In theory, Lindsay knows why she was wrong, but she was happier than she’s been in years, and Danny was very happy, and who could ask for more than that?
Even Flack knew better than to push his luck and ask for more, and although everyone figured it out or found it out or some strange mixture of both, it has to be said that they were unbelievably discreet.
But obviously not discreet enough.
(Shall I take further blame or another assault on how it was?)
Pretty much every nerve in Danny’s body is screaming at him not to ask the questions he knows, inevitably, that he’s got to ask. It’s going to hurt, the answers are going to kill him, tear him to shreds again for the third time in two days, but he can’t bring himself to stop.
“If you didn’t want to do this, you should have said something,” he says, the nicotine suddenly arriving in his body winding him up instead of calming him down. Danny has to forcibly stop himself from stubbing the cigarette out on Lindsay’s tasteful coffee table, instead walks over to flick the butt out of the window, down four storeys to the street below. “Or did you just get a kick out of the game?”
“I can’t believe you’d think that I-”
“I don’t know what the fuck to think anymore,” Danny hisses, rounding on Lindsay, who is still sitting a little too still on the couch, as though afraid that if she moves she’ll wreck this thing even more than it’s already wrecked (if that’s even possible). “I mean, for the last six months you’ve been telling me that you can’t wait to get married, and then I find out that all along you’ve been-”
He can’t finish and suddenly he doesn’t want to know, because the devil’s in the details and if he finds out how often and why then maybe he’ll shatter completely.
Maybe Lindsay knows this. Either way, she doesn’t say a word.
(Then we'll get to the fact that it's always my fault)
Lindsay is not going to blame Danny for her own mistakes, because it wasn’t Danny that sent her running to Flack (even though it was, she knows it was). It was all her, her insecurities and anxieties and the need to be with someone who wasn’t going to pressure her every second to physically care.
And this is getting them nowhere.
“What do you want me to say?” Lindsay asks, quiet, reasonable, finally standing up, although her legs are shaking underneath her and she’s not sure they can hold her. Still, if Danny’s got brittle grace, then she’s going to cling to hers with everything she’s got. “Do you want me to apologise? Do you want me to give back the ring? Do you want me to give you every little sordid detail, where and when it happened, tell you who’s better?”
Danny is silent, looking at her, and the glasses don’t lessen the intensity of that blue-eyed stare in any way, shape, or form. That look used to make her feel naked. Now it burns through her and highlights every single place where she’s threadbare and lacking. And he’s not saying anything at all.
“We both know that I can’t fix this,” Lindsay continues, because she can’t stop herself talking, and she might as well keep going because otherwise she has to listen to that terrible, sucking silence, “But you obviously want something from me, and-”
But she really, really can’t, not when he’s looking at her like that.
(Just because you're breaking my heart)
Danny can’t work out if he’s angry or surprised by the trembling but fundamentally clinical way Lindsay is dealing with this. As if there’s a five-point plan that they have to follow (How To Break Up A Two-Year Relationship In A Few Simple Steps). She’s not crying, she’s barely shaking. And although her voice has trailed into helpless nothingness, she’s staring at him, not looking away, not flinching.
Almost as though he’s the one in the wrong for falling in love with her. Yeah, he’d like to see how she’s figured that one out (and she probably could, because he never knows what’s going on in her head. He used to think that was ok, understanding only little random pieces of the pretty-but-incomprehensible enigma that is Lindsay Monroe, but he’s come to realise that she hides all sorts of things in that silence of hers).
“Maybe you could start by telling me just how great Flack is,” he begins in a voice just the right side of furious, “Then you could apologise and give me back the ring. How about we do it like that?”
“For God’s sake…” Lindsay folds her arms across her chest, a defensive gesture that he’s not entirely sure she deserves. “For God’s sake, Danny, I don’t understand-”
“Don’t understand what?” Danny demands, glaring at her. She doesn’t back down. If anything, Lindsay gets angrier.
“Why you’re annoyed about Don, who you know means nothing to me, when I’ve never said one fucking word about Mac!”
(I don't know what you want but I can't give it any more)
It takes all of about three seconds for Lindsay to realise that she’s gone too far. Oh, they were pretty screwed before this, but now- oh, now, they’re past the point of no return, and into new, very dangerous territory. The anger is wiped neatly off Danny’s face, to be replaced by something like momentary guilt, and then a sort of defensive iciness that makes his mouth very thin and he can’t look her in the eye.
“Don’t,” he says quietly.
But Lindsay’s had to put up with all kinds of yelling from him, all sorts of accusations and dirty, hurtful words, and if she’s going to carry on breaking this then she might as well go all the way.
“I watched you,” she begins, her voice is quiet now, shaking a little at the edges, “I watched you watch him walking away, and you had that look in your eyes, and you’ve never looked at me like that, no matter how hard you’ve tried to, and I didn’t say anything.”
“I’m telling you, Lindsay, don’t.”
“You proposed to me a week after he moved in with Peyton,” she adds, twisting the knife further although at this point in time it’s impossible to say who is hurting more, both of them breathless and she can’t stop, “Was I supposed to be flattered?”
“Shut up!” The anger is back in full force, although his blue eyes are in agony. Lindsay knows then that she’s pushed so hard that they’re both broken.
(You're breaking my heart)
There’s a cross between triumph and hurt on Lindsay’s face, and they just glare at each other for a moment, jagged words and jagged silences.
“I think you should go,” Lindsay tells him, looking down at her hands. “I don’t think there’s anything left for us to say to each other.”
Danny almost wants to explain but it seems that Lindsay has figured the whole thing out better than he ever gave her credit for.
“I did love you,” he tells her, wondering when all this turned around on him and momentarily hating Lindsay. “I really did.”
Lindsay offers him a sad, resigned smile.
“I can’t be Mac for you,” she tells Danny, that smile becomes almost a grimace on her pale face, and there is nothing that Danny doesn’t hate about this evening.
“I didn’t want you to be.” Danny sighs. But maybe he’s lying. He’s no longer sure. “I should go.”
“Do you want the ring back?” Lindsay asks. She’s shaking, but she’s standing.
“Nah, keep it.” He offers her a half-smile. “You never know.”
“What, you think we could still get married?” Lindsay’s expression is nothing short of cynical. Eyes narrowed, anger shaping her mouth.
“Well, we’ve both fucked up spectacularly,” Danny points out, a little too flippantly.
Except that Lindsay learned to live with his- his thing for Mac years ago, and he’s not sure if he can cope with what she’s done. Call him a hypocrite. Her actions have bruised and fuck it, it hurts.
(Don't know what you want)
Lindsay leans against the doorframe, watching Danny shrug his shoulders under his leather jacket, wondering when they lost the ability to do anything other than hurt each other. A week ago, everything was fine. But Peyton opened her mouth and she and Flack (Don, but no. He doesn’t mean enough to her, in spite of everything, he just doesn’t) couldn’t have got away with it forever. She knows this. She hates it anyway.
Danny opens his mouth but closes it again.
“There’s nothing left to say,” Lindsay reminds him, “You feel betrayed, you think I’m a whore, and you’re still in love with your boss.”
“Go right for the jugular, why don’t you Montana,” he mutters, avoiding her eyes.
“Go home, Danny,” Lindsay says softly, “Get some sleep. Eat something. Take a shower. And I’ll see you at work tomorrow.”
She honestly has no idea what’s going to happen now, now that neither of them are really sure who’s fault this is and whether it really matters, when you get right down to it.
“Yeah.” He sighs, defeated, quiet. Lindsay might almost feel guilty except that she’s too busy feeling guilty about other things. Like Flack’s mouth on hers and the way his groans echo all the way through her teeth. “Lindsay…” Danny looks slightly lost, more helpless than angry. “I don’t know what-”
“That’s all right,” Lindsay replies, with her first genuine smile in days, “Neither do I.”
And there’s nothing left to try, so she shuts the door.