Title: Sometimes, Both are True 1/3
Fandom: Women's Murder Club
Rating: PG for now.
Disclaimer: Property of James Patterson and ABC. Writing for fun not profit.
Spoilers: Episodes 1x12 and beyond.
Summary: Cindy's shooting leaves Jill a wreck, Lindsay pissed off, and Cindy a step away from being handcuffed.
"I am a grown woman, and can take care of myself just fine," Cindy Thomas said in a calm rational voice. The only responses she received were a raised eyebrow, an outright scoffing laugh, a roll of the eyes, and an enthusiastic tail wag.
Well at least she had Martha's support. "The doctor said I'm fine to return to work," she tried logic this time. "I'll just go down to the Register to pick up a few things, and work from home."
"Do you honestly expect us to believe that?" Lindsay's hands rested on her hips; she was one step away from reaching for her handcuffs. "You are staying out of trouble for one damn time in your life." The tall woman took a step forward into Cindy's personal space. "Christ, Cindy you were shot!"
"Three weeks ago!" Cindy returned, refusing to let Lindsay intimidate her. "I don't need a babysitter!"
"No, you need a keeper!"
"All right ladies, everyone take a step back and calm down," Claire stated. When Lindsay continued to glare at Cindy's smaller form, Claire whacked her on the arm to enforce her directive.
"If I see you at another crime scene, we're done. No more slipping under the tape, no unnamed sources, no quotes, nothing! Try writing the crime desk with no access to crime." Lindsay's teeth were clenched so hard, that the words came out in almost a whisper.
"For how long?" Cindy tried not to let her exasperation show, but her voice wobbled with both fear and anger.
"For as long as I say so!" And with that, Lindsay Boxer grabbed her jacket off the back of the couch and slammed the door behind her. Ironically, it was her apartment, but she either didn't realize that or simply didn't care at that particular moment.
"She's being completely irrational," Cindy almost whined. "I'm not planning to go chasing bad guys all over the city…"
"You rarely do, yet that's what usually happens." Jill said under her breath.
"...I just want to get back to work."
"I know honey," Claire put an arm around Cindy's shoulders. "But, you've got to stay away from Lindsay's crime scenes for a little while. You haven't officially gone back to work yet, have you?" Cindy's sheepish look was enough for Claire. "Give it another week, ok?"
Cindy raised her chin in pure stubbornness. She met Jill's eyes across the room, hoping to find an ally. The intense look she got back surprised her. The ADA looked angrier than Lindsay had a moment ago.
"Just do it, Cindy." Despite the look on her face, Jill's voice was smooth and dismissive as if she really didn't care, and the conversation in general was boring her.
"Fine." Cindy picked up her bag, gave Martha an ear scratch goodbye and let herself out of Lindsay's apartment.
Once the door clicked shut behind the petite reporter, Jill finally moved from her position by the windows. She shook her head as if to comment on the stubbornness of the woman who'd just left, but couldn't hide the trembling hand of her hands as she ran them through her short locks. She reached Claire and leaned into the smaller woman, resting her head on a willing shoulder. "What are we going to do with her?"
Claire rolled her eyes. "You know Jill, we all love that girl to pieces." She felt the blonde stiffen, but pressed on. "I love her like she was my own child, and it makes me mother her to the point where she stops listening to my advice." Claire turned and took Jill by the shoulders, meeting the lawyer's eyes. "Lindsay, she treats Cindy like she's always tagging along and in the way, like a bratty kid sister, but she'd kill somebody for looking at her funny. And she's taking her shooting like a personal failure."
Jill felt the tears she'd been holding in check since entering the apartment rush to the surface under Claire's uncompromising stare. Jill along with Lindsay, Jacobi, and Claire had all been called to a homicide earlier. Jill had been hanging back until Claire had the body covered when she'd seen Cindy. The redhead had been halfway down an alley, trying to catch up with a junky and possible witness. Trying to get a quote, trying to help Lindsay, trying to contribute to "the club." Without a moment's hesitation, Jill had started after her, calling Lindsay as she walked. When the inspector had dragged Cindy first to a squad car, and later to her apartment, Jill had been content to know that Cindy was at least safe for now.
That drove Jill these days. Was Cindy safe? Jill had no idea when Cindy Thomas had begun to monopolize her thoughts. The innocuous answer was when the reporter had been shot - that this was all some manifestation of worry and guilt for the youngest member of their little group. Unfortunately, Jill didn't really abide by self-delusion, and she knew that she had started tracking Cindy across courtrooms and crime scenes long before that fateful day on the steps of the Hall.
As much as Lindsay felt the sharp bite of failure at Cindy's shooting, Jill felt mired in guilt. Not only had Jill pushed Cindy away with both hands days before the shooting, she'd maintained a cold distance in the weeks since. Her only moment of weakness had come on the first night Cindy had lay in the hospital. Jill had pledged her continued friendship, held Cindy's hand, and felt free to look at the beautiful woman until her eyes drooped.
What she'd wanted to do was pull the smaller woman into her arms, hold her and stroke her hair and never let go. That was what had sent Jill into the real tailspin. Almost losing Cindy had made the lawyer realize just how important the redhead had become in her life. Somehow between asking too many questions, annoyingly showing up everywhere, and continuing to call the four of them a club, Cindy had wormed her way past Jill's defenses and into her heart.
So, like the emotionally stilted commitment-phobe that she'd always been, Jill panicked and pulled back. And almost no one had caught on. Not Lindsay, who was too busy with work and the muffin man, and, thank all that was holy, not Cindy, who'd been so high on pain meds that she'd barely noticed anything for the first few weeks. But Jill was not as good as she'd thought. Or rather, she'd underestimated Claire's intuition and powers of observation.
If the soft brown eyes boring into her own hadn't confirmed that, Claire's next words did.
"And you, you love her too. Don't you Jill?"
Jill shook her head. Needing to deny Claire's question but unable to say the words out loud. Tears began making their way down pale cheeks.
"You love her so much it's ripping you up inside," Claire's voice was as gentle as the hand that reached up to wipe away Jill's tears.
"I can't love her." Jill began to sob in earnest. Claire folded the taller woman into her arms, making soothing sounds. "I can't. She won't want me, and I can't, I can't..."
Claire waited until the blonde had exhausted herself, before pulling back slightly. "You already do Sweet Pea. I hate to break it to you. And as for her not wanting you, I think you might be confusing hero-worship with attraction."
Jill just stared at Claire, blinking red-rimed eyes.
"She's going to notice you're pushing her away soon, and when she does she's going to want to know why. Do you honestly think she's just going to let it go?" Claire pushed blonde hair out of Jill's face. "After that look you gave her earlier, I'd be surprised if she wasn't already putting it together."
Jill looked horrified. "No. She has no idea. She couldn't."
Claire raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms. "You seem to be pretty found of that word tonight counselor." She pulled Jill across the room and held out her coat and briefcase. "I suggest you go home, have a nice long bath, pour yourself a glass of wine, and think about what might be worse: Cindy figuring out how you feel about her, or Cindy not being around to figure out how you feel about her. So, to answer your question with a question, what are you going to do about her?"