A/N: Hi guys, I'm sorry this is very late. After the finale last night, let's just say I was a little... devastated. The episode seemed way too final for me and my little heart couldn't take it. However, Fred has been trying to make me feel better constantly, so while I was procrastinating my dissertation proposal (that's due on Tuesday I may add... oops!) He came up with this. I hope you guys like it.
I really, really, desperately hope that this is not the last ever post-ep I'll post. But if it is, *fights sobs* can I just take the second here to be sentimental and thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. Webdlfan, I'm pretty sure I remember correctly and it was you back on DLC in the episode thread that told me to write a post-ep, and here we are - seasons upon seasons later, still writing them. So thank you for that nudge! You've given me lots of fun every episode, trying to come up with something. And also, thank you to every one who checked the site after the episode (or in some cases before) to see what I came up with. You have no idea how much it means to me for you guys to want to do that. It makes me all teary eyed right now just thinking about it! I really, sincerely hope that this isn't the last one, but we'll see. I'm optimistic, so hopefully, I shall see you guys again in September... if not, I'm sure I've got a million more chapters for Why'd You Have To Go up my sleeve.
Special thank you to every one from last post-ep whom reviewed. Your reviews were so cute and I really loved each and every one of them. alexindigo, csimesser1, Megan, CTI-Jenn, Lady-Buster, MesserFamilyFan100, webdlfan, Hope06, saderia, brendanakai, afrozenheart412, 18lzytwner, messermonroeforever125 and jennifer32485. :)
Post-ep oneshot, season 7, episode 22: Exit Strategy.
The words Sergeant Messer had been bouncing around her mind all morning, all afternoon, all evening and the entire time he was in Boston. Sergeant. Her Danny as a Sergeant. She couldn't help the smiled that tugged at her lips at the mere thought of him progressing on the career ladder; something that she had known he'd wanted to do for a while. But when she'd thought about it in the past, she'd thought it was simply because it was the next step for him. But no, apparently that was far from it. He was doing it for them. For her. For Lucy. For their family.
It was pretty overwhelming when she really sat down and thought about it; something that she hadn't allowed herself to do really yet. There had been too much to be getting on with to simply sit and think. With Danny, Flack and Mac away, chasing their last outstanding case around the eastern seaboard more or less, Lindsay couldn't help but pick up the weight at the lab, chasing up leads and tying up loose ends as best as herself and Jo could – with the help of Adam and Hawkes of course.
A part of her was scared. Anxious for what the future held. Initially she had been fine with Danny vacating off to somewhere else as his workplace – because ultimately, she wanted to support him in whatever it was he wanted to do. Whatever his dreams were, those were her dreams too. She wanted to be with him every step of the way, holding his hand with every shared step.
But... how could she do that if...
She took a deep breath as anxiety filled her again. She loved her husband with all of her heart. And she loved their little family they'd created together. The only things was, she wasn't sure how ready she was to give that away and embark on a new life almost. It was one thing seeing Danny day in, day out at work. They were given the chance to work together on many, many cases; but they also had the opportunity to work solo... work on their own assigned aspects of the case. And for them it worked well. They had the chance to see each other daily – but they weren't in each other's pockets.
So how would they work with him working away from the team?
She wasn't sure how she would feel without seeing Danny's face everyday. She wasn't sure she could deal with the thought of someone else stepping into her husband's shoes. Hell, she wasn't even sure if she could do this without him. He'd always been there.
But you haven't always been there. You filled Aiden's shoes.
Tears pricked at her eyes. She hated that she was being so ridiculously selfish in thinking of herself when Danny was thinking of their future. More money was going to be a God send. They had expenses; and she knew that as Lucy grew, those expenses would be greater and although they were on two reasonable salaries, a little more money couldn't hurt.
But what if that extra money hurt them?
She wasn't under any illusions. She knew that a reason why they worked so well was because they were who they were – they were Danny and Lindsay. Two opposites that attracted, and somewhere along the way realised they weren't as different as they had first thought. They worked because of who they were – seeing Danny every day at work didn't make a difference to their relationship. But, it offered her that stability and safety net. His presence at work provided her with a safety net that, which she had now become accustomed to and relied on.
What would she do without it? What would she do without him?
With her arms, elbow deep in soap suds, she cursed the tear that slipped down her cheek. The tear that she couldn't fight away. The dishes were getting blurry and she knew that the tirade of tears that she'd been fighting and the anxiety she'd been suppressing were demanding their release. And she knew that there wasn't a damn thing she could do about preventing it. She pulled her hands out of the water, but as she did she caught herself on a steak knife, and instantly the tears started slipping down her cheeks.
"Ow," she whimpered as she grabbed the dishtowel and wrapped her cut finger in the material. "Danny, can you come here?"
Danny appeared seconds later with the newspaper in his hand. "S'up babe?"
"I cut myself," she turned to him, presenting him with the dishtowel wrapped around her index finger. "Could you-?"
"I got it," he smiled, setting his paper down and reaching for the first aid kit that they kept for Lucy's scrapes, bumps, falls and tumbles. "I swear, sometimes we need this more for you than we do for Lu."
"Yeah yeah, laugh it up," she sniffled.
"Aww babe, are you cryin'?" He asked, an amused look on his face at his wife's tears.
"Yeah," she whimpered, thankful for the justified excuse for the tears. "Yeah, it caught me off guard, shocked me a little."
Silently, he picked her up and placed her on the counter, positioning himself in between her legs. He placed the first aid kit next to her and delicately took the dishtowel away from her finger. He examined the cut before letting out a little sigh and pressing a kiss to the wounded area. "You got yourself pretty good there, honey."
"I did." She nodded. "I was day dreaming and next thing I knew-" she trailed off, knowing there was no need to finish her sentence.
He pressed a kiss to her nose before wiping away her tears with the pads of his thumb; which simply warranted more tears. He observed her silent tears slipping down her cheeks but said nothing as he bandaged her up with a brightly coloured band-aid.
"Hey, is everythin' okay?" he asked after he pressed a kiss to the covered boo-boo; a ritual that he'd established with their daughter. "You're crying a lot for just a little cut."
"It's nothing," she shook her head, her face crinkling as she protested more tears. "Honestly."
"Honey, I know you and this really isn't nothing. It takes a hell of a lot for you to cry."
"No," she shook her head. "No, I'm fine."
He didn't move, despite the fact that he'd sorted her cut out and his services were clearly no longer required. He stared at her for a moment or two, trying to figure out from her eyes what it was that was troubling her. She fought the intimate intrusion, but she knew it was no use; this was the one time wherein having the ability to communicate with just their eyes, had backfired on her.
"I think I know what this is about." He began. "You're scared, aren't you?"
She nodded slowly, "A little. I don't... I don't – ugh, this is so stupid."
"Stupid? Linds, I told you that I'm not even sure whether I'm gonna take it yet."
"Exactly, hence why me crying is so stupid," she angrily wiped her tears away. "You haven't even gone yet and I'm crying."
He nodded slowly, beginning to understand exactly what her concerns were. "I know you want to support me Linds, but you can't forget that I want to support you too. I know that this is hard on you. It's tough – why do you think I didn't tell you before? It's taken me this long to try and figure out what I want to do."
"And what do you want to do?" she whispered, not trusting her voice being any louder.
"What I want doesn't matter right now; what do you want?"
She shrugged and let out a whimper. She let herself cry for a few seconds before burying her head in the crook of his shoulder. "I want to be happy for you." She sniffled. "But I'm scared." She admitted. "I'm scared that I'm gonna lose you. I'm scared that if you go, things will change... we'll change. And I don't want that."
"We'll change babe, but we'll change for the better. We'll be better off financially."
"And I know that. I want you to be happy Danny, I do," she assured him, wiping her eyes. "And you know I will support you whatever your decision. I'll support it one hundred percent. I'll just miss you."
With the last four words, she lost it; the tears in her eyes falling freely. He wrapped his arms around her tightly as she cried; surprised at how long she'd managed to keep it together for.
He'd sprung his decision on her and he knew that. And such a drastic change was a lot for her to take, and in retrospect, maybe he had been slightly selfish in telling her in the way that he had. He knew that she would be excited for his new job. He'd also known that she would support him. He also knew that she'd find his plans for their future comforting and heart warming. But he hadn't thought about how she, as his wife, would feel about it.
And as his wife sobbed her little heart out in his arms, he realised that maybe he should have thought about those feelings that mattered so much to him: hers.
"I love you and I want you to be happy, and I really didn't want to do this in front of you because I don't want to influence your decision in anyway," she whimpered. "I just... I want you to know how much I adore working with you in the lab. I love you being there, I love having you there, and it just scares me when I think about you not there. It makes me feel empty and I don't like that feeling. I don't like the thought of you not there... but I know I can't keep you there forever."
"This is a decision that affects us just as much as it affects me, baby." He began, "And we have a lot of discussions and conversations we have to have before we're absolutely sure this is the best move for us, okay? We're a family, and what I do impacts everyone."
"But it shouldn't," she cried. "I should just be on board with this – you're doing it for Lucy and I anyway!"
"Hey," he whispered as he could see her getting agitated at her emotions. "Listen, I understand okay? I know that this is scary. It's a huge change for us. You've always had me there and we've got this dynamic. And you have to know babe, that there is no other reason as to why I want to do this other than to give us more stability. I promised you that I'd be the guy you need me to be, and that guy needs to find a way to support his family."
"You know you're the guy I need you to be," she smiled at him. "I told you that when you asked me to marry you."
"And I just need to prove this to myself." He admitted. "I need to prove to myself that I can be the guy that can provide you, my family, with the future that they deserve. I don't always want to live in a two bed apartment, babe. I want the house, the drive, the yard. I want Lucy to grow up riding her bike around the block on an evening with her friends on the sidewalk. I don't want her to be watching television in an apartment building because it's too dangerous to let her play outside. I want to give Lucy the childhood that she deserves."
His words only made Lindsay's tears continue.
"And as for her education; I want her to have the best. I can't do that on our salaries. We've got too many outgoings to send her to a school that is going to give her what she needs."
"What happened to public school?" Lindsay questioned.
"I've thought about it, and what's wrong with our little girl getting the best education? That's what you want, isn't it? To give her a kick start?"
"I was just dreaming about that, public schools are good too Danny, we don't need to send her to a private school."
"We know that she's clever though Lindsay; why not make provision for her to have those opportunities?
"She's only three Danny, we've got time."
"I know Linds, but it's all something that we need to think about. This extra money can give us those keys to all of those doorways that are locked right now. I want to you to be proud of me. I want you to be able to tell people that your husband is Sergeant Messer."
"I'd be proud of you if you were a street vendor selling hot dogs Danny," she giggled. "I don't care what you do, I just care that you're mine."
"I'll still be yours as a Sergeant." He laughed. "Where do you think I'm gonna go?"
Lindsay paused for a moment and scooted across the counter, headed for the fridge. She pulled off as picture and handed it to him.
"What do you see in this picture?" She asked.
"I see the team," he replied, looking up at her through his lashes.
"What else do you see?"
He scanned the picture and pursed his lips as his eyes desperately tried to zone in on something specific. "Um, I dunno. Happy smiley faces?"
"A blanket," she pointed to the bottom right hand side of the picture. "That is a blanket in Mac's office. Now, I know that the office can get a little chilly from time to time, but I don't feel a blanket is necessary."
"Okay," Danny nodded. "I hear you there. What's your point babe?"
"My point is Danny, is that as much as I love and adore Mac, I can't... I can't..." She swallowed the lump in her throat. "I'm scared that you'll have a blanket in your office too, and you'll stay at work, determined to finish cases rather than come home." She physically cringed in front of him.
"Baby..." he sighed.
"I know." She shook her head. "I know, it's awful. I hate that I feel and think it, but it scares me Danny. It does. I love that you want to do this, and I love that you passed the exam. I'm so proud of you for doing all that you have an coming as far as you have... but I'm just scared. I want to keep you as my husband. We all know the regrets that Mac has about Claire, and without sounding too big headed, I don't want you to have those regrets with me and Lucy."
"First of all," he set the picture down on the counter top. "I don't nap with blankets." He teased her, poking her nose. "Second, you Lindsay Messer are number one in my life. Always have been and always will be. You and Lucy make up my entire world and as important work is to me, you two are always more important. Always." He said, his face a mere inch from Lindsay's. "And third, I'm always going to be your husband; you have no choice, you're growing old with me. Tough luck for you, huh?"
She smiled against his lips as he pressed a chaste kiss to her's.
"I can understand these concerns babe, believe me. I love that you don't want to miss me, because I don't want to miss you either. And I swear to you that I will do whatever it takes to make sure that this isn't as scary or as hard it as feels like it will be right now."
"Can I ask you a question?"
He nodded. "Yeah."
"And you'll answer honestly?" she pressed.
"You've got my word."
"Is this something you want to do? Or is this something that you feel you have to do?"
"Honestly." She nodded.
He paused for a second and took a deep breath. "It's something I want to do."
She swallowed and nodded. "Take it."
"What?" He asked, unsure of what she'd just said.
"Take the position. Be Sergeant Messer." She smiled at him. "It's like what I said to you before, we can cross the bridge when we get to it. Things will work out okay for us. They always do."
"I'm sure," she nodded. "You're perfect for this."
"You think?" He smiled proudly.
"I don't think," she shook her head. "I know that you're perfect for this. You have to take it Danny, I was just... I had a few fears, but hearing you and having you calm me down has made things seem better, you know?"
"I know," he nodded. "And if it's any conciliation, I'm going to miss you like you wouldn't believe. I mean, who the hell is going to save all the cases so I can haul ass home with you?"
"You'll have to find some other cute brunette." She teased.
"No one could ever replace you," he whispered as he pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Ever."
"If you want," she giggled, "I can give your replacement hell. Make him suffer?"
"Replacement, whoa... hold up – I'm not even out of the lab yet and you've got someone in my seat. What's the deal there, Montana?" He drawled. "It's almost like you want me to go. And him? Mac could hire a chick. In fact, I might just insist that he does. Can't have you goin' anywhere with a cuter and younger model, can I?"
She shoved him away playfully and then jumped down from the countertop. "You know I don't want you to go," she informed him as she wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her head into his chest. "But I know that this is something you need to do."
"Yeah," he nodded. "But we can do it together," he smiled. "You can experience everything I experience with me. Make everything seem a little less daunting."
"I'd like that," she smiled. "It can be a new chapter of our lives."
"You still scared?" he asked her, tilting her head up to face his.
She shook her head. "Not anymore," she whispered. "I trust you, and when you tell me everything's gonna be okay. Everything will probably be okay."
"You know why?" he asked her, rubbing his nose against her's.
"Because everything will be just fine... I promise."
The concerns and reservations she had over such a huge shift in their lives were suppressed for now. She knew that when it came down to it, and she had to watch Danny pack up his desk , there would be private tears between the two of them. Six years of working together was a long time and they'd gone through a lot together. So to see that coming to an end filled her with sadness. But, on the other hand, those six years inside the lab had given her some of the best memories of her life. The playful banter, the teasing, the competition and contests they'd had with one another had all provided them with an ever growing bond that was now pretty much impermeable.
Now was the time to create some different memories as they embarked on the next chapter of their lives together.
Huge thank you to reading, tuning in and supporting me on this journey of the post-eps. I hope we get the chance to continue these next season! If we do, I'm here - so I hope you guys will be too! :) Any thoughts for this one, are as always appreciated - and thanks for reading.