By Heather Hinam
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to CSI New York, just the thoughts in my head.
Rating: T, for vague innuendo.
Summary: Denouement def: the outcome of a complex sequence of events (Danny and Lindsay come full circle)
Spoilers: None, though it takes place after the end of the second season
Author's Notes: Well, it's finally done. This whole story and especially this last chapter was truly a joint effort with my dear friend, Joy. This story wouldn't have even happened without our weekly long-distance conversations. So it seems fitting that we actually managed to finish it while in the same room together. I hope you enjoy this final chapter. Thanks to everyone for your continued interest and very kind reviews. I always enjoy hearing from you.
Yanking open her locker door, Lindsay glanced at the small travel clock she kept stuck to the inside surface.
Heaving a sigh, she shut her door and pitched forward, gently resting her forehead against the cool metal.
Another long day.
Looking back on it, Lindsay couldn't pinpoint any one reason for the day dragging on as it had. They'd had no pressing cases, or impending court appearances, just endless processing of evidence and paperwork. She'd actually spent most of her day…. Squinting, Lindsay stood back up, her brain suddenly spinning wildly, trying desperately to cling to any remnant of memory from the last ten hours.
'What did I do today?'
The realization that she couldn't really remember much of the work she'd done all afternoon was sobering and Lindsay suddenly understood what had dragged the hours out to the point where she hadn't noticed the time passing. She just couldn't get him out of her head. Danny Messer had taken up residence in her psyche and she just couldn't seem to shake him.
Leaning forward again, Lindsay let the cool metal soothe her suddenly overheated skin.
'It's not like I planned this or something.'
Her words to Stella this morning had been the truth. She really hadn't planned to find herself with her heart in the hands of her cocky, pain-in-the-ass, player of a co-worker. In fact, she'd been fighting for months against the gravitational pull that she felt every time they were within fifty feet of each other. She was damned if she was going to let him suck her into being another notch on what was probably a well-worn bedpost. Then, somewhere along the line, something changed. At some moment that she couldn't pinpoint, her wariness had begun to fade ever so slightly and the pull became stronger and infinitely more frightening; Lindsay now realized that it was more than just base attraction. There was some thing growing between them that they wouldn't be able to ignore for much longer.
Lindsay's eyes slipped closed as the memory of this morning washed over her. They'd been so close. She'd been able to catalogue the various shades of blue that coloured his gaze. Bracing her hands on the lockers on either side of her head, Lindsay let her mind wander, daring to imagine what might have happened. Her heartbeat thrummed in her ears, drowning out the world around her as images danced across her eyelids. Forcing air in and out through her nostrils, Lindsay fought to stem the slow burn that threatened to overtake her entirely.
Damn, he wasn't even in the room and yet he'd managed to work her blood into a boil.
Pushing off from the lockers, Lindsay swung her locker door back open, the rattle of metal on metal jarring in the stillness of the room.
Good, maybe it would shock some sense into her.
Uncomfortably warm, she slid her blazer off her shoulders, peeling the suede from her arms, leaving her torso clad only in a light green camisole.
Suddenly the air in the room shifted, freezing her hand in mid motion as she made to hang up her jacket. He was right behind her, his breath feathering over her ear as his fingers closed over hers, claiming the coat from her grasp.
"No fair, Montana, starting without me…"
His name escaped on a gasp as his body found its place against her back, his right arm reaching over her shoulder to deposit her blazer on the hook in her locker. His left hand found her waist, fingers delicately tracing the lines of her ribs, igniting a slow burn in their wake. Inhaling sharply, Lindsay found herself surrounded by his clean scent, a combination of soap, aftershave and something she just couldn't put her finger on. Balancing herself against the metal wall of lockers, she backed more firmly into his embrace and the increasingly obvious evidence of his arousal.
"Danny," she repeated, a little louder this time, working hard to keep her voice steady. "What are you doing?"
The fingers of his right hand joined those of his left in mapping the gentle curve of her belly before sweeping back up over her ribcage, around to her back and finally alighting on her shoulders. Lindsay fought valiantly to keep her breathing regular and her body upright as his breath warmed her hair, threatening to buckle her knees.
"What does it look like I'm doin'," he breathed. "I'm seizin' the moment." His voice was a gravel-laden whisper, the low rumble in his chest sending vibrations straight to her core. Sighing a long, steady stream of air through her nostrils, Lindsay melted into him even further.
Then she remembered where they were.
Launching herself forward, Lindsay tried to extricate herself from the circle of Danny's arms, suddenly aware that someone could walk into the room at any minute and their current position would take a lot of explaining. Although he loosened his hold on her waist, Danny only gave her enough leverage to allow her to turn around, bringing them face-to-face. Lindsay now found herself held in place by both his hands on her hips and the startling blue of his eyes. She was drowning, struggling for purchase in the indigo depths of his gaze as his thumbs traced painfully slow circles on her hips, threatening to drag her under. Her eyelids heavy, Lindsay slowly succumbed to the gravitational pull.
'You're still in the lab!'
Her brain finally managed to make itself heard over the roaring of her heart, dumping the mental equivalent of a bucket of ice water over her head. Her whole body snapped back as though she'd been electrocuted.
"Danny, we're still in the lab."
He laughed outright before reaching up to tuck a stray curl behind her ear.
Lindsay swayed on her feet.
"Your powers of observation are very impressive, Montana. I can see why Mac hired y'a."
"Danny," she insisted. "We can't do this." Lindsay pushed off from his chest in an effort to put some distance between them, but the cold metal wall of the lockers prevented any progress. Trapped, Lindsay dropped her chin to her chest, hoping to hide from his relentless gaze, hoping that if she just didn't look at him, she could be the sensible one and stop this before it started.
"We can't do this," she repeated quietly, but he followed her, ducking his head and gazing up into her eyes.
"No, y'a see, that's where I think you're wrong, Linds," Danny implored, trying to hold her gaze. "We can do this." His voice gained strength with his conviction. "Y'a see, I talked to Mac an'…."
He was nearly forced to break his hold when Lindsay suddenly whipped her head up, eyes wide, mouth agape.
"What do you mean you talked to Mac?" Her voice edged towards hysterical as she brought her hands down hard against his chest. "You told him about this morning?"
Danny coughed, trying to regain the wind she'd temporarily knocked out of him. "Damn, Lindsay!" he sputtered. "I didn't give him a play-by-play or anythin'."
However, his attempt at humour failed to erase the look of abject fear and the hint of annoyance on her face. Sobering, Danny continued, "Look, I didn't really tell 'im much of anythin'. We were talkin' about Stella and then I…said somethin' about us having a 'moment' and it was like he already knew."
Recognition dawned across Lindsay's face before she suddenly dropped her chin back to her chest, wishing that she could somehow will herself home to her apartment, where she could just curl up and forget this whole day had ever happened. Danny, however, noticed her sudden inability to look at him.
"What is it, Montana?"
"Stella," Lindsay whispered, knowing that he'd drag it out of her one way or another, but hoping that his mind wouldn't make the connection.
Of course, it did.
"How did Stella know about…." Then it clicked. "You told her?"
Cringing, Lindsay nodded, still avoiding Danny's eyes.
"You told Stella about this morning?"
"I didn't give her a play-by-play or anything," she muttered in the general direction of the floor, parroting his words back at him.
Silence descended over the room and Lindsay waited for the reproach that she was certain was forthcoming. She was finally about to venture a glance upward when she felt Danny begin to shake with repressed laughter as his hand found its way under her hair to her neck. With gentle pressure, Danny nudged her forward and Lindsay settled her cheek against his chest that was still rumbling with muffled chuckles. His mirth was contagious and Lindsay couldn't help but laugh, herself. She sank into him further as Danny dropped his chin to the top of her head.
"Man, we're pathetic, aren't we?" he muttered.
"Yeah," Lindsay sighed, lulled by the rhythmic sweep of his fingers through her hair.
Danny pulled back and snagged her eyes, suddenly serious. "We really can do this, Linds. It's nobody's business but ours." Then, a devilish grin bloomed across his face, tripping her heartrate up a notch. "But, if it'll make y'a feel any betta, Mac gave us his seal of approval."
Lindsay arched an eyebrow, trying to maintain some semblance of detachment as his fingers, now tracing gentle circles on her neck, tried their level best to turn her into a puddle on the floor. "Something tells me Mac didn't give his approval for you to seduce me in the locker room."
For a fleeting moment, Danny looked almost sheepish. "Well actually, I think there was somethin' 'bout keepin' it out of the lab, but..." His eyes suddenly darkened to a deep cobalt, setting off a not-unpleasant warmth that began to unfurl from the pit of her stomach. "I figya what Mac doesn't know won't hurt anythin'." His ever-active fingers moved lower, beginning a thorough exploration of her back.
"So, it's workin', huh?" Danny asked, smiling slyly. His voice was rough and nearly an octave lower than usual. "I'm seducing you?"
Lindsay fought hard to keep her knees steady. Struggling to maintain her composure, she answered, "Oh, I don't know. With all the stories I've heard around the lab, I'm starting to think that Stella's right and you're not all they've made you out to be."
Danny's eyebrows shot up in surprise before a grin slowly spread across his face. "Oh, really?" he replied, licking his lips in anticipation as he leaned in to close the distance between them. "I dunno, but I think you've been misinformed, Miss Monroe."
Lindsay finally gave in, resting her forehead against his as her eyes slipped closed. She gently nuzzled his cheek. "In that case, Messer," she breathed. "I think I'm going to need more of a demonstration."
Donald Flack was on a mission.
'1956, Yankee's perfect pitcher.'
Crossword puzzle rolled tightly in his hand, Flack strode purposefully through the halls of the New York City Crime Lab, scanning each room for the one person he knew could answer his question. Unfortunately, Danny was nowhere in sight.
Huffing in frustration, Don made a beeline for the one place he hadn't checked.
"Messer!" he called out as he pushed through the locker room door. "Who pitched for the Yankees in '56?"
As the words left his throat, Flack finally registered the scene in front of him.
Danny was otherwise occupied. And apparently, so was Lindsay.
In his attempt to make a stealthy escape, Flack tripped over the waste basket by the door. The can shot across the room and ricocheted off a bench, then rolled noisily along the floor before finally crashing into a row of lockers.
Glancing up to see if he'd been discovered, Don was met by Danny's scowl and Lindsay's look of abject mortification. Searching desperately for words to break the heavy silence pervading the room, Flack blurted out, "I thought you said I didn't need to knock first."
Lindsay blushed a darker shade of crimson, while Danny's scowl deepened.
A broad grin spread across his features as Flack regained his composure. Bowing out the door with a cheeky flourish, he teased, "I'll leave you two to your moment."
Don was halfway to the elevator when he heard Danny call out.
Stopping to glance down at his crossword, Flack mentally matched the letters to the boxes. Smirking, he started to pencil them in. "Well, whadaya know."