A/N: In the course of writing the past few stories that I have, I cut scenes from each story that I really liked but didn't work for various reasons. I have reworked and grouped those scenes together here to create this vignette-style look into Danny and Lindsay's relationship since the end of last season. Each scene was written independent of the others though they do fit together in many ways and are chronological. I've indicated the timeframe based on episode before each scene.
Thanks for reading!
Post ' Like Water for Murder' but Pre 'Personal Foul'
"This is a mistake," Lindsay said for the hundredth time. As she and Flack approached the entrance of O'Malley's, Lindsay could already hear the music and noise vibrating from the bar. "I'm not in the mood."
"Well, get in the mood," Flack replied, pulling Lindsay to the door. "As much as I've enjoyed your blank stares into space for the past few weeks you need to get out more."
Flack's grin took some of the bite out of the words. "Listen, distraction is good. In fact, in the case of a devastating breakup, distraction is essential. Trust me. Have a little fun tonight, Linds. You deserve it."
Though Lindsay tried to hide the hurt in her eyes and Danny tried to act like nothing was wrong, it was clear from the way the climate changed to frosty cool every time they were in a room together that something had happened between them – and Flack would put his money on it being Messer's fault considering how selfish and stubborn Danny could be. Flack didn't press for details but he could see Lindsay was struggling. Their friendship, up to this point, had been mostly jokes and fun and he didn't want to overstep any boundaries in his attempt to help her. But that's what friends were for.
"I am not devastated," Lindsay insisted. "I'm just…" Devastated. She'd put the pieces together about Rikki and was doing her best to not feel the pain of her broken heart. So she functioned on autopilot and did her best to avoid Danny. It would be a mistake to even try talking to him. Everything she imagined saying to him was angry and far beyond what her country manners would consider appropriate. Asshole, for example. Or You cheated on me and you didn't have the balls to tell me. Fuck you. She was angry and hurt and just needed time. Time to let the part of her that was once Danny's die its slow, painful death. But Flack had insisted on dragging her to the bar and his effort was certainly endearing. Maybe he was right , a beer or two might be a good idea.
"Fine. But drinks are on you."
Inside, the bar was packed with people. A cover band, set up on a small stage in the back of the room, was blaring Journey's Don't Stop Believing. Lindsay took a sip from the beer Flack handed her and scanned the room. Many of New York's finest were there - cops in uniform and street clothes, techs she recognized from the lab, firefighters with their navy blue t-shirts stitched with their firehouse. A group of people gathered in front of the band on an impromptu dance floor, moving to the music with various level of success depending on how much they'd had to drink. Others lined the walls of the room, drinking, talking and flirting. Her eyes suddenly stopped at the opposite end of the bar. Lean, fitted green t-shirt, hair half-messed and half-styled, blue eyes focused on her with an intensity that nearly made her drop her drink. Lindsay squeezed her eyes shut in an attempt to break the force of that too familiar gaze.
Flack turned to see what Lindsay had been looking at. "Oh." he said tightly. "Danny's here." Lindsay looked helplessly up at Flack, and he reflexively wanted to apologize for not having anticipated this unexpected development.
"I have to go," Lindsay said urgently, pushing her drink into Flack's hand, ignoring his pleas for her to stay.
Frantic, she attempted to push her way through the crowd, but suddenly Danny was in front of her, blocking her path. Lindsay temporarily froze before forcing herself to act normal, to not let Danny see how he affected her.
"How are you?" she asked lamely. Her voice sounded too loud in her own ears, and she was certain that Danny could hear her heart thudding.
Lindsay was the last person he expected to see considering she'd been actively avoiding him for the past few weeks. He knew she knew. About Rikki. And while he had yet to find the words to make it all right again he wanted to try to save them. If she would just give him the chance.
"Alright," he shrugged, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "Not really in the party mood but Adam made me come. "
"Well, I'm on my way out. Have a good night." She turned but Danny grabbed her elbow to stop her getaway.
"I really want to talk to you." His voice was low and thick and intimate, as if they weren't surrounded by a hundred other people.
Lindsay felt the sting of tears behind her eyes, and the now-familiar sensation of having not quite enough air to breathe properly. Yanking her arm away from his grasp, she pushed her way outside. Leaning against the building to steady herself in the cool night air, Lindsay wondered if she was ever going to be able to see Danny without feeling a wound rip open all every time.
Post 'Personal Foul'
Danny shut the door, selfishly hoping he was closing it on Rikki for good, and sunk into his living room couch. He ignored the glaring red numbers on the clock counting down the limited number of hours he had left to sleep and tried to ignore the tired ache behind his eyes. Scooping up the remote, he absently flipped through infomercials and 70s sitcom reruns before settling on a rock music channel.
The music filled the empty space of his apartment but could not push aside the lingering images of Lindsay in his mind. Standing in the lab telling him she honestly didn't know when she would talk to him. The weight of her eyes on him when she'd stood up in their office and said she'd fallen in love with him.
He mindlessly flipped the channels again, unable to find a distraction until moans from the TV focused his attention. On an adult channel, a man and woman were having loud, dramatic, fake sex. But the sounds all around him were alluring, and for a split second Danny thought maybe that's what he needed – to be with someone like that – mindlessly, meaninglessly, nothing except lust and energy. He was wound so tight, it probably wouldn't take him long to be satisfied. But he quickly knew that wouldn't help. He'd gone down that road before, chasing the empty promise of nothingness, and look where it got him. Sitting on his couch, alone, watching bad porn.
Throwing his head back, he could feel Lindsay standing at the edge of his mind, waiting to sneak back in. Her soft smile, her feather-light touch on his body. In his mind, her soft moans replaced the woman's on the television and his stomach tightened. Danny remembered the first feel of her on his pool table, the way she'd dug her nails into his skin and breathlessly said his name. Groaning, Danny turned off the TV before he became helpless to stop where his mind was wandering to, walked to the bathroom, and turned on the shower as cold as he could stand it. The water felt like needles against his back as he braced himself against the tiles, the tension thick in his body. The cold water helped, but it wasn't enough.
Post 'The Box'
Lindsay answered her door in an oversized t-shirt, sleepy, rumpled and surprised that someone was knocking at two in the morning.
"I just wanted you to know," he said quickly, not giving Lindsay a chance to say or do anything, "I just wanted to tell you, that I know I disappointed you. I know that I didn't – and don't - always react well to certain things. I know that I have made mistakes. And I'm sure I'm going to make more. But none of those things ever changed how I feel about you. You are one of the most loving, trusting people I've ever met. And a lot of times I think I don't deserve you, you know? And I know you tried – harder than I did – to make things work with us. And I'm sorry for that."
Words streamed from Danny uncontrollably, his hands moving erratically as they emphasized each syllable. He's not sure what brought him to Lindsay's apartment at this ridiculous hour. Maybe it was Jim's advice about having no regrets that seemed to reverberate through him. After leaving Jim and Andrea Harris at the precinct with their new grandchild he and Lindsay had parted with hopeful, cautious glances but no words – maybe he was trying to fill that emptiness, force a connection he knew was possible. He could still feel the warmth from her hand on the back of his own, as if he'd been branded.
"Danny," Lindsay started, her mind attempting to digest what she'd just heard. She was still confused and overwhelmed by the past day and Danny's unexpected visit wasn't exactly helping. Something of her thought process must have shown in her face, because Danny immediately grabbed her hand.
"Don't look like that," he said with a tiny, hopeful grin.
"Do you want to come in?" Lindsay said quietly, opening the door wider.
Bringing her hand to his lips, he lightly kissed it. "No. I just wanted to tell you that. I wanted you to know."
"Thank you." Lindsay's eyes searched Danny's for a long moment as if deciding something. "It …it means a lot."
With a last smile, Danny turned and walked back down to the elevator, a spring in his step for the first time in weeks.
Post 'The Box'
They were tentative at first, a little shy at being together for the first time since learning Lindsay was pregnant. They touched each other lightly, just fingertips and brushes of lips. Lindsay arched into Danny as he skimmed over a particularly sensitive spot, and could feel him straining against her, hot and hard.
Danny kissed her thoroughly and then pulled back, pausing to look down at her with serious eyes. "I want to be part of your life, Lindsay," he said huskily. "I don't want you to not expect anything from me. Promise me you won't do that."
"I promise," Lindsay murmured, her eyes meeting his in complete and total truth.
He undressed her, exposing all of her to his hungry eyes. He drew away a little and let his eyes linger on her stomach. He grinned, thinking about the life forming under his hands and was rewarded with her answering smile. This is what happy is, he thought.
He settled on top of her and smiled to himself as her hands pushed at him, urged him. She rolled her hips against him, but he ignored her and continued a gentle assault on her body with his lips and hands. When his tongue found the sweet spot on her neck, Lindsay tightened her legs around him and forced them to roll over so that she was straddling his legs.
"There are a lot of reasons I don't want to be without you," she said in his ear, "and that's pretty high on the list."
Danny felt himself grinning like a fool, and he didn't care. This was happy. He flipped her over quickly so he was back on top, making Lindsay squeal.
Afterwards, they lay in bed, quietly, eyes closed, legs tucked together, her back draped across his chest, head against his shoulder. Danny loved sitting like that – as if he was wearing Lindsay's warmth like a blanket. He wanted to be with her forever, but he didn't consider telling her that yet.
His hand traced designs and words on her stomach which he'd become fascinated by. Sometimes the words – like baby names or 'I love you' - were too long and he finished on her leg or arm. With one finger, he traced a heart over the beat of hers. Lindsay smiled up at him. He winked.
Lindsay loved these moments sitting with his strong arms around her. The feel of his chest at her back, rising and falling with each breath, sharing laughter and holding hands and simply being with Danny. Ever since he broke her heart, there would always be a point when some invisible barricade would form within her when she was with him. She waited for it again. But this time it didn't come.