TITLE: Dry My Tears
SUMMARY: He was always there for her. Now it's time for her to return the favor.
SPOILERS: 3x11 "Raising Shane"
DISCLAIMER: They are not mine. Speak to CBS. And when you do, ask if I can have a job.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Follows the same canon I introduced in "In Case of Emergency". If you haven't read that, you might want to. I usually don't do that with my one-shots (unless they're part of a series), and especially not with my post-eps, but it seemed to fit with this one.
Title comes from a poem I wrote. I thought about putting it at the end, but it's kind of stupid. I wrote it in high school, and actually, most of the poetry I wrote is dumb. I guess I'm just not a poet. And also, I'm ashamed to admit this… I got the title from a song in The Tom and Jerry Movie. Commence laughing at my geekiness… Now.
I'm sorry for those of you hoping for teh mad secks, but it just didn't seem right with this fic. I do have one in mind, so don't you worry.
Unbeta'd. All mistakes are my own.
Dry My Tears
"He wants me."
Lindsay's heart quite literally stopped beating. She had always thought the expression to be a metaphor, but she was learning the hard way that it wasn't. Everything was frozen in time – from the conversation between Mac, Stella, and Danny to her own labored breathing, which she was surprised no one noticed. No one else seemed to be having this kind of reaction. Why was she the only one who seemed unable to breathe, unable to move, unable to even blink for fear that everything would shatter around her if she did?
Stella and Mac… They swiveled their heads to look at Danny as he spoke. Lindsay was glad that she was beside him, already looking at him, because she didn't think she would be physically capable of turning were she not.
And then the next text message appeared.
Send Messer. Alone.
Shane Casey, serial killer, the man who was framing Hawkes for murder, wanted to meet with Danny – was specifically asking for Danny. What was he going to do? What did he want? What would happen to Danny?
She gasped. She couldn't help it. Danny's eyes flicked briefly to hers, and she couldn't have read the look in them if her life depended on it. It was a mix of so many emotions that it was virtually indefinable. He turned back to Mac and Stella, and Lindsay listened as they began to plan how to go about this, how to send Danny alone into a building with an armed madman.
She had only just found him. She didn't want to lose him. With everything going on in her life right now, she didn't think she would be able to survive if she lost Danny. She now knew how Danny must have felt when she insisted on taking Beth's place during the Holly case. She could finally appreciate his position, and as he had been unable to convince her, she knew she wouldn't be able to talk him out of going. Shane was willing to talk to him, and he had the only piece of evidence that could exonerate their friend and colleague of murder. It had to be Danny. Danny had to go.
But that didn't mean she had to like it.
She wanted to go with them, but she didn't. Instead, she went to Danny's apartment and waited for him to return. She changed out of the clothes she had worn all day and slipped into one of Danny's T-shirts – a faded navy blue shirt with the Yankees logo on it. It had been his favorite shirt in high school, and it had been his favorite shirt because it once belonged to Louie. She suspected he only kept it around because he couldn't bring himself to throw it away, and he liked the way she looked in it; it was too small for him to wear anymore.
He liked the way it hugged her in all the right places and was long enough to cover everything when she stood normally, but he could sneak a peek when she shifted on the couch or raised her arms. She liked the way it smelled like him, even though he probably hadn't worn it in years, and the way he looked at her when she wore it.
She also liked that she knew that the shirt she was wearing was his favorite, and why. She liked that they could tell each other these things. She liked that she had finally lowered her defenses and let him into her heart.
Her life was much better with him there to see her through the darkness. Him knowing the dark secrets of her past didn't make them go away, but it made them easier to fight. When she woke up screaming in the middle of the night, he was there to hold her. When she started crying, he was there to dry her tears.
She hadn't yet been able to return the favor. She wasn't there for him when Aiden died. She wasn't there for him when Louie was taken off the respirator. She had been physically present, but not emotionally, although it wouldn't have mattered. Danny hadn't cried at either funeral; his tough, New York-born-and-bred exterior refused to allow him to cry. He had stood there and 'taken it like a man,' even though she knew he must be breaking inside. But all that was going to change now. He had been there for her, and come hell or high water, she was going to be there for him.
Once she had changed, she made herself comfortable on the overstuffed sofa and absentmindedly began to channel surf. She remembered her reaction, the first time she had set foot in his apartment. It wasn't at all how she'd imagined Danny Messer's apartment would look. She'd expected a sparsely furnished place with leather couches, lots of glass – one of those sleek, modern styles she'd always associated with New York City. But his place was a contradiction – just like he was. His furniture wasn't leather. It didn't even match. And his place was so crammed full of junk that she'd asked if he had just moved in.
"No," he'd said, laughing. "I'm just a packrat. Can't seem to throw anything away."
She appreciated the homey feel of his apartment. It made her feel safe and loved, which is why they spent the majority of their time curled up on his couch, watching television. For a man with a reputation as wild as his, he certainly was a homebody. From everything she'd heard about him from the lab techs – who could give the girls on her high school cheerleading squad a run for her money when it came to gossiping – he was a "go out and party all night, every night" kind of guy. But since they had started dating, almost two months ago now, they rarely left the apartment.
She liked it. She got to keep him to herself. Their relationship was a part of her life that she didn't have to share with the rest of the world. It belonged to only the two of them, just as it should be.
She dozed off while watching television. The sound of the door opening woke her. She cautiously peered over the back of the couch – one could never be too careful in New York City – and saw Danny taking off his jacket and carelessly tossing it aside. He kicked off his shoes and dropped his keys on the floor. He didn't even acknowledge her presence, or ask what she was doing there. He merely stumbled over to the couch and collapsed on the end not occupied by her and fell over so that he was sprawled across her lap. She immediately shifted position, snuggling closer to him, wrapping her arms around him, and laying her head on his shoulder.
"I'm so glad you're all right," she whispered. "I've been so worried about you." She ran her fingers through his hair. "I was tempted to demand to go with you, but I thought that might look suspicious."
"Sorry I didn't call," he said. His tone was flat, detached, lifeless. Not the tone he usually used when speaking to her. It made her stomach churn. He sat up. "I got hung up."
She pulled away, settling Indian-style on the cushion beside him, her hands in her lap. "I got hung up," was apparently his phrase du jour. She hated it. "Danny."
He sighed and dropped his head into his hands. "I'm sorry, Lindsay. This whole thing…"
She chewed on her bottom lip, unsure of whether or not she should push him. She was the last person who should be pressuring him to talk, considering their history, but she knew that he needed to unload. He needed to release his emotions. Bottling everything inside was unhealthy, though she never imagined Danny Messer as the type of guy who contained his emotions. Especially considering the way he'd mouthed off to the chief earlier. When he was around her, though… The normal rules didn't seem to apply when he was in her presence. It was like he felt as though he had to be the strong one in their relationship.
She did the only thing she could think to do. She gently took his hand in hers.
He didn't look at her, but lightly ran the fingers of his free hand along her right wrist. "Are you doing all right?" he asked.
She pursed her lips. The snakebite hadn't fully healed yet, but it no longer hurt, and thankfully it hadn't been infected. She'd needed to return to the hospital once or twice so that the doctors could check to make certain that it was healing properly, but if it weren't for the nasty scar on her wrist, she could almost forget the whole painful ordeal. She squeezed his hand. "I could ask the same about you."
He shook his head and stood abruptly. "I'm fine, Linds."
"Bullshit," she said, and that made him look at her. She almost never swore in front of him. "You are not fine, Daniel Messer. Now you get your ass back to this couch, and you sit down and you talk about it, or I'm getting dressed and going home."
It was empty threat. She didn't want to go home any more than he wanted her to. But it served its purpose. He returned to the couch and sat down heavily, his eyes narrowed slightly. He let his eyes drift over her form and his invulnerable façade cracked – just a little. She could almost see it in his expression.
"You're wearing Louie's shirt," he said sadly, and he reached out to touch the material of the sleeve.
She smiled softly. "I'm wearing your shirt. You love this shirt." She raised her eyebrows suggestively and stretched out her foot to run it along his thigh. "You love me in this shirt."
"He mentioned Louie."
Lindsay stopped mid-motion. She didn't need to ask to whom he was referring. She scooted closer to him, bracing her hands on his chest, unsure of what to say. She would never presume to use the term, "I'm sorry," with him. "I'm sorry" was what people said when they had nothing to say. It was overused and impersonal and Lindsay hated it more than she hated any other phrase in the English language.
"Danny," was all she managed to say.
"I don't want to end up like him."
Again, she didn't need to ask. "You won't. You aren't like him. You are a good man. You would never do the things he did. You will never be like that."
He squeezed his eyes shut, and she saw them – the tears he was too proud to shed. He was trying to fight them, trying to hold back, because he thought he needed to be strong for her. She cupped his face with both hands, and his eyes opened, releasing the tears. She used her thumb to wipe away a stray one as it trickled down his cheek.
"You're a good person, Daniel Messer," she murmured, "and I love you."
The tears began to flow more freely now, and she could tell that Danny was trying to speak but was unable to get the words out. She shook her head and kissed cheek, tasting his tears and wishing there was something she could do to make all his pain go away.
"You don't need to say anything," she said, gently pressing her lips to his. "Just let me love you. Let me do this for you."
She sat back against the couch, pulling Danny into her arms. She held him until his shoulders stopped shaking, until the tears stopped dropping onto the shirt she wore, until his breathing slowed and evened out with sleep. She carefully maneuvered their bodies so that they were laying down on the sofa, and she snuggled as close to him as humanly possible, draping an arm across his chest to tangle his fingers with hers. She squeezed his hand again and rested her head in the crook of his neck.
Now it was her turn to battle back his demons. Now it was her turn to dry his tears.
Bring it on.