Chapter 8: Fishbowl

Two days later, Danny had run out of excuses for not talking to Lindsay. Now, it was unavoidable, since she had returned to work (Mac had insisted she take some time off). She seemed better, almost like her usual self. Almost. After nearly an entire shift debating in his head how best to do it, Danny decided to approach her. He walked into the room with a deep breath, watching as she peered into a microscope to examine a hair sample.

"How's it going, Montana?" he asked in a bright tone that almost sounded fake.

"Good," she replied, "This hair doesn't match the vic's, so it could be the killer's."

Danny noticed how she had instinctively made the question relate to the case, and not to herself. She hadn't smiled at him either, something he dearly missed. He sighed, here goes nothing.

"Have you ever played 'Truth of Dare'?" he asked her.

"Yeah, sure, when I was a teenager," she replied slightly confused. "Why?"

"Wanna play "Truth'?" he asked hesitantly.

Lindsay bit her lip, knowing what he was probably going to ask her about. "Sure Danny, what do you want to know?"

"What happened Lindsay?" he asked concernedly.

"What do you mean?" she faked ignorance.

"What happened before I got there the other day? Why did it affect you so much? And why did Mac say I should ask you the reason you became a CSI?" he said in one breath, his heart sinking as he watched her eyes become darker.

She didn't cry, nor did it look as though she was going to. Rather, she sat in silence for a moment, before speaking.

"The answer to your first question: He didn't say he was going to kill me right away. He said he was going to do something worse. Something 'fun' in his words," she said slowly, staring at a spot on the wall, unfocusedly.

Danny was too taken aback to say anything so she continued, "The answer to your second question: I was twelve. I was walking home from school. I'd never seen him before in my life. I don't…I don't remember what happened during, but I know that afterwards, when my parents found me, somehow their arms just didn't feel safe enough anymore."

Danny was sickened, horrified, and infuriated all at the same time. "Did he…I mean…He didn't hurt you did he? I mean, really hurt you?" he asked, not sure how best to phrase such a personal question.

"I was lucky," she replied, understanding him, and feeling touched that he had asked.

Danny couldn't help but breath a small sigh of relief.

"As for your third question: there wasn't enough evidence for a conviction, or even to hold him very long. They could barely get me to identify my attacker, and the word of a child wouldn't stand up to much by itself. I decided that I wanted to be the one gathering the evidence," she finished, her voice lower than he had ever heard it before.

Suddenly everything made sense: her obsession with the girl from Montana, her shell-shocked state the other day, her reaction at her apartment. The Lindsay Monroe in front of him seemed so different from the one he had known previously. But, she hadn't changed: he had. Just flirting with her in the lab wasn't going to be enough for him anymore. He wanted to hold her, protect her, and be the knight in shining armor. Ironically enough, she had saved him just as much as he wanted to save her. She had captured him without even realizing it, and changed the way his heart operated completely. Before his mind could even register what his mouth was doing, he had whispered aloud one of his deepest secrets:

"I love you."

Lindsay's eyes snapped back into focus as she stared at him, daring herself to believe what she had just heard. How could it be that the thing she had been denying to herself for months was suddenly coming out of his mouth?

"Are you sure?" she had asked before she could stop herself.

"Completely."

There it was! His heart leaped. She had smiled. Not just the little one she gave when pretending she was fine, this was the full-fledged Montana grin. The change it made was breathtaking, as her eyes lit up just like they used to, but with something else added.

"Me too," she said softly.

Danny slid his hand behind her neck, and leaned in to kiss her. When their lips were barely an inch apart her voice stopped him.

"Um, Danny," she said, glancing to her right.

He followed her line of vision and was amazed at what he saw outside the window that looked out into the adjacent hallway. Stella had both hands clasped in front of her mouth, and looked as though on the verge of tears. Hawkes had one hand covering his mouth as he attempted not to laugh. Flack actually was laughing. And then there was Mac, who stood with his arms crossed, fighting the smile that threatened to spread across his face. Danny gave them all a cheery smile and a wave before turning away and kissing Lindsay extra-passionately just to spite them.

Hearing the roaring laughter and whooping from outside, Lindsay finally pulled away shyly, trying (and failing) to hide her blushing, yet smiling face.


Epilogue

Danny suddenly stopped outside of the door.

"What's the matter?" Lindsay asked curiously.

"We have to do this the traditional way," he stated, turning to smile at her.

"What?" she asked incredulously, but before she could stop him he had picked her up in his arms.

"This is how they do it in all the old movies," Danny explained, as she laughed.

"If you say so," she said, once she had stopped the fit of giggles.

Danny stood there for a moment before saying, "Can you open the door?"

This only caused her to laugh even more as she inserted the key and turned the handle.

Danny carried her into the room and gently set her on the bed, then sat down next to her. He kissed her then leaned over to whisper something in her ear, making her laugh again.

"What?" he asked.

" I still can't get over how great that sounds," she replied.

"It is a pretty cool-sounding name: Mrs. Messer," he admitted.

He kissed her again, more passionately, as they laid back on the bed.

"Are you okay?" he asked concernedly, coming up for air.

Lindsay took a deep breath and nodded.

"You know I will never, ever, do anything to hurt you," he told her lovingly.

Her eyes lit up they way he loved as she smiled. "I know," she said, pulling him to her.

Fin


Ha! My morals: 1, Hollywood morals: 0. I knew from the beginning that I didn't want them to sleep together until after they were married. Take that CBS! ;) Anyways, this has been such a fun story to write and it has been just as fun reading all of the reviews. Thanks for reading, and I really hope you enjoyed it. I can pretty much garauntee that there won't be anymore to this particular tale, but there is always a chance for more DL fics. Much love!

- Found Wanderer