Author's Notes: Okay, so no excuse for not finishing this story earlier or working on the others, other than a big case of block mixed with a different story taking control. However summer is now here and I plan to get everything finished while on break. This is the final chapter of this story and I hope it was worth the wait. Thanks to everyone who had been patient and thanks for the nudges to update.

Aren't we all psyched that CSI: NY has been picked up for another season? I know I was thrilled to read the news. Now I just hope we can be lucky enough to get a full season instead of the short season we got with Season 8.

Disclaimer: CBS, Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, and Ann Donahue own all rights to the characters and premise of the show. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.


Chapter 23

"It was a beautiful service."

Lindsay forced a smile as she searched her weary brain for the name of Freddy's neighbor who was now standing in front of her. "I'm glad you could come, Mrs. Stantler. Uncle Freddy thought the world of you."

The elderly woman clutched at Lindsay's hand tightly, the wizened hand cold to the touch but grasp remarkable strong. "No, my dear, you are the one he thought the world of. Having you so close these last few months gave him a new lease on life. He loved you so much and was so proud of you."

Lindsay's lower lip trembled and a couple of tears that had been held at bay all morning slipped past her lids to run a path down her cheek. The woman's words echoed those that Freddy himself had told her the very morning he died and it brought on a fresh wave of the pain she'd been dealing with in the two days since. She murmured her thanks and the woman walked on heading toward the buffet of food that covered Freddy's dining room table.

Strong arms circled her waist from behind and a warm voice filled her ear. "Why don't you take a break, Montana? Stella has a plate fixed for you in the kitchen. Everyone will understand if you take a breather."

Part of Lindsay wanted to melt into Danny's arms and let him lead her away from all the well-meaning friends who had come to pay their respects. Lindsay nodded silently; her stomach churned at the thought of eating anything but she couldn't deny that she could use a moment to get off her feet and escape for at least a few minutes. She was barely holding things together and she didn't even want to think about how much worse it would have been if she hadn't had her friends from the lab supporting her every step of the way since Freddy had died in her apartment two days earlier.

She'd barely been aware of Mac and Stella's arrival at her apartment after Danny had called them until Danny had turned her over to Stella's warm embrace so he could explain everything that had happened. When Sid had arrived to claim Freddy's body, she'd lost all emotional control. Before he even examined the body, Sid had hugged her and promised to take care of Freddy as if he were family. Stella and Danny had led her to the bedroom so she wouldn't have to see her beloved uncle transferred to a body bag for transport. Mac had taken the responsibility of calling her parents to inform them of the situation. Even as her world seemed to be crumbling around her, she'd gratefully surrendered to the care and love her friends were willingly offering.

Neither Stella or Danny had left her alone in the aftermath and instead of feeling smothered by their attention, she'd welcomed their presence and help. It had been Danny who had suggested having a small service in New York for the benefit of Freddy's friends would want to pay their last respects but would be unable to make the trip to Montana for the service there. While Mac and Sid coordinated things with the rest of the Monroe clan to have Freddy's body shipped to Bozeman, Danny and Stella had helped her arrange for the memorial service to be held at the small church Freddy attended in Tarrytown. Mostly Lindsay had remained in a teary daze, unable to do much besides cry in either Stella or Danny's arms and try to pull herself together to answer the many calls from her mother so as not to worry the woman who was thousand of miles away.

Just as Danny was about to lead her toward the kitchen, the front door opened and a fresh wave of guests arrived. Lindsay sighed and patted his arm. "Maybe in a moment. I should greet them. It's my duty as family."

"Montana…" Danny growled lowly as she straightened up in his hold and once more put on her brave face. He was worried about her; knew she had to be close to her emotional limit no matter how much she wanted to hide it. Other than the thirty minutes during the service at the church, he didn't think he'd seen her sit down once and Stella, who had stayed with her the night before, had reported that she didn't think the young woman had slept at all. He knew for a fact that she hadn't even pretended to nibble at the breakfast he'd brought over that morning before taking them to Tarrytown for the service. "They'll understand."

"I'm okay." She insisted but Danny wasn't reassured. The new arrivals surrounded her and Danny had no choice but to release his hold on her so she could accept the hugs of support the guest were waiting to give her.

Danny stuffed his hands in the pockets of his gray suit coat and stepped back to the wall. It had been obvious from the full church earlier that morning to the number of people milling around the house now that Freddy had been well-liked. He hated seeing his friend in so much pain and feeling useless to do anything about it. She would be leaving in the morning to catch an early flight to Montana, the same flight that would be transporting Freddy's coffin, for a second service there with her family. Until she was safely on that flight and beyond his control, he planned on doing everything in his power to make sure she was okay, or as okay as she could be in under the circumstance.

A hand gripped his shoulder. He looked up to see Mac standing there. The head of the crime lab nodded toward Lindsay. "Stella told me you were going to convince her to take a break. No luck?"

Danny shook his head. "I just about had her convinced but then more people arrived and she felt like she had to speak to them. Look at her Mac, her legs are shaking she's been standing there so long. Maybe I shouldn't have suggested doing a service here; at least when she gets home the rest of her family can trade off hosting duties. Here she's by herself."

Mac frowned. "No she's not. We're here for her. Come on."

Danny pushed off the wall and followed his friend and boss back to where Lindsay was surrounded by the newest group of mourners. Mac deftly steered her back into Danny's awaiting arms and then smiled politely at the guests. "I'm sure you'll excuse Lindsay a moment; her parents are on the phone from Montana with last minute details about the service there. Have you had a chance to sign the guest book?"

With Mac diplomatically directing their attention away from Lindsay, Danny started to lead her toward the kitchen. Lindsay frowned. "My parents are on the phone? Has something happened? I thought all the arrangements had been made."

"Relax Montana. Mac was just giving you an excuse to take a breather. The people out there know there's a lot going on and they ain't gonna begrudge you a moment to talk to your folks. Mac will help them settle in and you are getting off your feet for a few minutes. No arguments."

Lindsay leaned gratefully against her friend and colleague as he led her down the hall into the small kitchen. There she sank into one of the hard wooden chairs around the small table. Stella gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze and an older woman pushed a plate full of food in from of her. Lindsay smiled at Alice Hammerback. Sid's wife had graciously volunteered to handle coordinating all the food different people had brought over for the service. Again Lindsay wondered how she would have managed all of this without the help of her friends.

The wife of the lab's chief medical examiner nodded toward the plate. "I didn't put that there for you to look at. Eat up. People always mean well at these services but it still takes a toil. You need to keep up your strength."

"Alice is right, Lindsay." Stella agreed when the younger woman still didn't pick up her fork. "It's going to be a long day. You might can get by on a protein bar on a long day at the lab but not today. You are not going back out there until you've eaten every bite on that plate."

Lindsay had no doubt that everything on the plate was delicious and under normal circumstances she would enjoy every bite. But this was far from a normal circumstance and nothing appealed to her. Still, she knew she'd get nowhere arguing with Stella's demands so she obediently put her fork into the potato salad and put a bite in her mouth. Swallowing it was difficult like when she tried to eat with a sore throat but she eventually forced it down. Satisfied, Stella gave the younger woman's arm a reassuring squeeze before returning to help Alice keep the food platters in the other room full.

Danny had disappeared after depositing her in the kitchen and with Alice and Stella occupied with the food, Lindsay put down her fork without taking a second bite. She hated adding to the worry she knew they were all feeling about her. Many times in her life she'd wished she had a do-over button so she could go back and change certain outcomes. The biggest time being the night her friends had been killed in the diner. But currently she wished she could hit a button and go back to the moment she and Danny had arrived at that townhouse. She knew if they hadn't gone into that townhouse today, they might not have caught Dillon and her crew before they'd been able to unleash the deadly virus they had duped Jason into helping them create but perhaps if she could have avoided getting gassed, Freddy might still be alive right now.

A chair scraped the floor beside her as it was pulled back from the table. She glanced over to see Danny straddle the chair as he set a plate of food on the table in front of him. He was also holding two cans of soda, one of which he placed in front of her. He glanced at her in concern. "Stella said you were eating. That don't look like eating to me. Do I gotta get her back in here?"

Lindsay looked at the plate plaintively and wrinkled her nose. Then she looked back at Danny, her eyes almost pleading. "I just don't have an appetite."

One of the things that Danny had learned about Lindsay in the months she had been at the Crime Lab was that when she was upset or focused on a case, her appetite was the first to go. He didn't understand it; he was always ready to eat, but he did know that was one of the ways Lindsay handled stress. Reaching out he gave her chin a little tweak. "Yeah, but you're going to eat anyway. I know you know Freddy wouldn't want you making yerself sick because of him."

A single fat tear made a track down her cheek and her lower lip trembled just slightly but she picked her fork up once again. Danny hid his smirk of success at getting her to eat as he dug into his own plate of food. The two friends ate in silence; one recognizing the need of the other to momentarily be lost in her thoughts. When a little over half of the food that had placed on her plate was gone, Lindsay set her fork down once again and turned back to Danny who had finished his own food. "I just don't think I can eat any more. I'm sorry; I tried."

Danny nodded and gave her a slight wink hearing Stella on the other side of the door about to come back in. Without saying a word, he switched out the two plates so that it looked like Lindsay had finished hers while he was still eating. She smiled her thanks, knowing he was buying her a moments reprieve but also knowing that he'd insist on her eating some more later.

As Stella carried an empty platter to the counter, she glanced at Lindsay's plate. She'd expected to have to stay on the younger woman about eating but was pleased to see everything had been eaten. She smiled at Lindsay. "How are you doing, Kiddo? Need anything else?"

Lindsay shook her head, grateful to Danny for his little deception. She knew he'd practically force her to eat something more later but for now she appreciated the reprieve. "I'm good. How bad is the crowd out there? I guess I should get back out there."

Stella shook her head. "Mac's got it handled. Everything is fine and you just sit right there for a little longer. No one's going to fault you this moment. You've been on the go nonstop and on display all day and if you don't recharge yourself, you won't be any good to anybody."

Lindsay felt like she was shirking her duty to the family. It would be different if she wasn't the only one there to represent the Coleman family. She couldn't imagine her mother not being front and center for the duration. Still, she appreciated the fact that her friends were keeping such a close eye on her. She wouldn't fight Stella because as much as she felt like she needed to be out there with the people who had come to pay their respects, she knew she was at the end of her emotional rope.

"Excuse me," An unfamiliar male voice filled the kitchen from the doorway. "I was hoping to speak to Miss Monroe for a moment."

The chair next to her scraped against the floor once more and Danny pushed away from the table. He and Stella both moved to provide a protective barrier between the newcomer and their friend. Stella folded her arms across her chest. "She'll be out shortly."

"Normally I would respect that. I've unfortunately been to enough of these things to appreciate the need for breathers, and ordinarily I would give her all the time she needed. However, I have several appointments this afternoon that I wasn't able to reschedule and I really wanted to have a moment to talk with Miss Monroe about her uncle before I left."

Now, Lindsay recognized his voice although she'd only seen him once before. She rose from her chair and went to stand beside Danny. She touched his back lightly. "It's okay guys; I'll talk to him. This is Uncle Freddy's cardiologist. Dr. Gregs, it was sweet of you to come."

The heart doctor smiled sadly and then motioned for her to return to her seat. Stella and Danny exchanged a look, holding an unspoken conversation with each other. Danny nodded, indicating that he would stay and intervene if the conversation proved too difficult for the younger woman. Stella frowned but went back to her duties of refilling the platter she'd brought back to the kitchen. Danny sat down next to Lindsay again as the doctor took a chair on the opposite side of the table.

"Your uncle wasn't exactly the easiest patient I've ever had but there's no doubt he was a miracle." The doctor began delicately.

Knowing her uncle's habits before his initial heart attack and couldn't suppress the smile that formed. "I can imagine he didn't make things easy for you at all. But miracle? I don't understand."

"First let me say I don't usually discuss a patient's medical information with family members even after death. HIPA has very stringent rules about that. However, Freddy listed you as having permission to hear about his medical condition. I need you to understand just how serious his heart condition was."

Lindsay lowered her head, expecting at any moment for the doctor to tell her with absolute certainty that it was her fault that Freddy had died in her apartment. She knew he had a serious heart condition; it was one of the reasons she'd jumped at the chance at coming to New York so she could keep an eye on him. The added stress of worrying about her was the last thing he needed.

Danny, seeing her almost stiffen in response to the doctor's words, reached over and took her hand in his, giving it a small squeeze. Though he had tried to assure her that she shouldn't blame herself, he knew she was carrying that guilt around like a five ton bag of luggage. He better than anyone knew exactly what that kind of guilt could do to a person. He knew he should probably excuse himself and allow the doctor to talk to her in private but he couldn't leave her to face what he had to say alone. Torn by what was right, he decided to allow her to make the decision. "Montana, want me to give ya a moment here?"

"Please stay." Lindsay's plea was almost inaudible but earnest. Then she looked at the doctor. "Is that alright? He's my friend and since none of the rest of my family is here, I'd rather not hear what you have to say alone."

Dr. Gregs wanted to say no. It went against everything in him to reveal personal information to a non family member but he could tell that Lindsay was almost to her breaking point. If having her friend with her helped her, then he could live with it. "Medically speaking there is no reason why Freddy Coleman should have even been alive the day he died. His initial heart attack was so massive; frankly I was surprised he was even able to leave the hospital. When I released him, I honestly thought I was giving him time to go home and get his affairs in order before he had a second attack and died. At best I gave him a matter of a few weeks."

Lindsay was shocked; she'd known the heart attack was severe but Freddy had made it seem like he would make a full recovery if he made some lifestyle changes. Now her guilt increased ten fold. She'd been in such a hurry to get her own place in Manhattan when she should have stayed with him to take care of him.

Dr. Gregs continued. "As doctors we can only do so much and the rest is out of our hands. In your uncle's case, I think my prediction of the amount of time he had would have been accurate if you hadn't come to New York. I saw a totally different patient after you arrived. He seemed happier and stronger. In the end though, his heart was just too damaged. When I saw him last week, I knew no matter how stubborn he was or how much he wanted to live, he wouldn't have much longer. He wasn't scared to die but he was worried about how you would react. He was afraid that no matter how the end came for him, you would blame yourself. He asked me to make sure you understood that you couldn't have done anything to change the outcome. When his heart gave out it wouldn't have mattered if he were asleep in bed or running a marathon, nothing would have saved him. Not even if he'd been in the hospital with a crash cart handy."

Lindsay pushed her chair back and went to the window overlooking the small backyard, wrapping her arms around her shaking body. Even in death, Freddy was still taking care of her. She wasn't naïve, she knew her parents - especially her mom, had asked Freddy to keep an eye on her when she made the decision to move to New York. But she'd also made them the same promise to watch over him. In the end, Freddy was still doing everything he could to honor his promise while she hadn't even been aware of just how much he needed her.

She heard an exchange of words going on behind her between Danny and Dr. Gregs but didn't pay attention to what was actually being said. According to what the cardiologist had told her, it wasn't the circumstances that had killed Freddy; not the stress of worrying about her or seeing her battle Jordon Dillon. Her guilt should have been absolved but now an even greater guilt fell over her. She'd always been close to her uncle, closer than any of her brothers had been to him for sure. But had she taken that closeness for granted, not seen just how much her being in New York had meant to Freddy?

Once again, comforting arms circled her small waist and she felt her back pressed against a warm body. Once again, Danny's husky voice filled her ears. "Stop it, Montana. You know Freddy wouldn't want you to blame yourself for any of this. You heard the doctor say it and now I'm saying it. Just before he died, Freddy made me promise to do everything in my power to make sure you didn't blame yourself. His heart gave out, that's all. Even the doctor's couldn't do anything for him. But you did."

"I didn't do anything. What was so wrong with a commute back and forth to work? I could have stayed here and taken care of him but instead I was so insistent on getting my own place in Manhattan. He opened his home to me and my being here meant something to him and how did I repay him? Dinner once a week when I could fit it into my schedule? He deserved better."

Danny turned her in his arms so that he could look her in the eyes. His hands came up to cup her face gently. "Montana, you gotta let go of this guilt. It's not healthy. You heard the doctor; Freddy probably would have died months ago but he held on because he wanted to make sure you were okay, that you were settled here. He held on as long as his damaged heart would let him until he couldn't hold on any longer. His death wasn't your fault and you can't blame yourself for anything else. This would have happened even if you had continued to bunk on his couch or moved him to your apartment in Manhattan. Don't let guilt eat you alive cause it has a pretty big appetite. Trust me, I know."

Lindsay realized he was now talking about his own guilt for not being there when Louie died. She hadn't been so consumed in her fears of Freddy's condition that she'd missed Freddy urging Danny to make things right with his own family. She wondered if Danny's promise to the dying man had been weighing on her partner's mind for the last two days. Her lip trembled even more as she struggled to hold back the sobs that once again threatened to overwhelm her. How many dying men would expend their last breaths to try to help someone he barely knew? "I just miss him so much."

Danny drew her back against his body as her tears began once again. He kissed the side of her head and rubbed comforting circles in her back. It broke his heart to see her so upset and not be able to do anything about it. Still, he almost envied her the ability to express her emotions so openly. Some days he missed his brother and the relationship they'd never been able to have so much that the pain was almost unbearable but he couldn't see him letting his guard down enough to sob out his emotions the way Lindsay currently was doing.

As the beautiful brunette cried against his chest, Danny allowed his mind to wander to his mother. Did she have someone who would hold her like this as she grieved the loss of both her sons, one to death and one to the barrier guilt and anger had erected between them? He couldn't see his father providing that comfort; he'd never been one to handle emotional outbreaks like this. His heart twisted a little at thinking of his mother crying herself to sleep. Far more than just to honor his promise to Freddy, he had to make things better with his parents; he owed it to them to make the attempt.

After a few minutes, Lindsay pulled back and swiped at her tear stained face with her hands. Danny reached into his pocket and offered her his handkerchief. She smiled her thanks and used the small white cloth to properly wipe her face and nose. "I guess I should step into the bathroom and fix my make-up before I return to the guests. Danny, thanks for being here. I don't know how I would have gotten through this without you - all of you."

Danny smiled at her and thumbed away the last of the tear drops forming in the corner of her eye. "Like Freddy said, we're your family here. We got your back just like you'd have ours if we needed ya."

He watched as she almost stumbled away from him toward the bathroom. He frowned. By tomorrow night she would be back in Montana, protected by a close knit family who would surround her with love as they all dealt with the loss of a beloved family member together, the way a family should. What if she decided to stay there permanently? It wasn't like she had family waiting back here in New York for her to come back to. It surprised him just how much the thought that she might remain in Montana upset him.

"Lindsay okay?" Stella touched his arm softly as she came back into the kitchen.

Danny didn't take his eyes off the hallway where his friend had disappeared down. He hoped his eyes weren't as red with unshed tears as he was afraid they were. "She will be. Her family will make sure of it."

- CSI: NY - CSI: NY - CSI: NY -

Lindsay waited until the majority of the crowd had filed out of the plane before leaving her seat and retrieving her carry-on luggage from the overhead compartment. Wearily she debarked the plane and dragged the small rolling suitcase behind her down the air tunnel toward the terminal. The flight from Bozeman back to JFK had been long but she'd been glad to be able to book the nonstop flight instead of having to switch flights and wait in cold impersonal waiting areas between layovers.

It had been six days since her uncle's death, three since she left New York to accompany her uncle's body home for burial. Her mother had begged her to stay a couple more days but Lindsay had insisted that she needed to get back to work. The truth was Mac had offered her the extended time but as much as she loved her family, she'd found herself missing the life she'd made for herself in her new home. More importantly she'd found herself missing her friends.

She emerged from the air tunnel to find the crowd had dispersed. She was glad; she was too tired to fight the crowd. All she wanted was to get a cab and go to her apartment and crash for a few hours before letting people know she'd come back early. Oblivious to her surroundings Lindsay made her way out of the airport to the line of cabs that usually waited outside the airport. She frowned when she released she'd lagged enough behind that the line of available cabs was almost nonexistent. She started to reach for her phone to call for one when a warm familiar voice caught her attention.

"Need a ride there Montana?"

Lindsay whirled around, surprised to see Danny leaning against a column. She smiled. "What are you doing here? How did you know I was coming in this morning?"

He gave her a warm hug of greeting. "A little birdie was worried about you flying all night and then trying to get home and called us. So, how about that ride?"

Suddenly she didn't feel quite so tired. She surrendered her suitcase handle to him as he rested his other hand on the small of her back leading her to the parked Avalanche. He put her suitcase in the back as she climbed into the passenger seat and fastened her seatbelt. Once he was in the driver's seat, he looked over at her. "I know you've got to be worn out. They call those flight's red-eyes for a reason but how about some breakfast before I take you home. My treat."

Lindsay nodded. She loved her family and she'd needed their support while she'd been home. Any lingering guilt she'd felt at Freddy's death had dissipated under their assurance that no one blamed her in any way. She'd needed the time in Montana but at the same time she'd found herself longing for the comfort and support of her friends, especially Danny. She never felt compelled to force a conversation with him; they could ride in silence without it being awkward. In fact, it wasn't until they were seated at her favorite diner that he asked about her trip.

"It was good. Sad obviously but cathartic at the same time. The burial was really difficult." She didn't add that the burial was rough because it was the same cemetery where her friends had been buried after the diner shooting so many years before. Funerals there always brought up memories she'd much rather keep buried.

"I have to say I'm surprised you came back so early. I thought you were going to stay another day or two. Not that I'm not glad to see you, mind you."

Lindsay salted the eggs the waitress had just set before her and returned the salt shaker. "What can I say, I missed home."

Danny smiled, pleased that she thought of New York as home now even while being in Montana. He was also glad to see that it appeared her appetite which had been almost nonexistent before she left for Montana had returned as well. "We missed you as well."

"Work been crazy?" Lindsay kept the talk small as they ate.

"Are you kiddin' me? Flack's been busy coordinating with Homeland Security rounding up more members of Dillon's no so little conglomerate. The others have been working almost non stop processing the underground lab. I swear I think it spans at least a third of Manhattan. Fortunately, they haven't found too many more nasty surprises like the carbon monoxide trap or the rigged fridge. Mac's kept me out of that investigation, the same way he's going to keep you out of it when you come back, just so no defense attorney can use our involvement to get Dillon off."

"So you've been pulling all the unrelated cases almost by yourself." Lindsay completed for him. "I'm sorry. I should have been here."

"No way, Montana. You were where you needed to be." Danny assured her as he used his toast to sop up his egg yoke. She didn't say anything else but suddenly he could almost feel her eyes burning into him. He looked up to see her studying him carefully. "What?"

"Something's bothering you. And I don't think it has to do with work."

Danny blushed slightly and shook his head. "Don't worry about it, Montana. You just got back in town, you don't need to hear my issues."

Lindsay reached across the table and took his hand in hers, giving it a squeeze. "Danny, you were there for me when I needed you. Let me return the favor now. What's bothering you?"

"I realized watching you with Freddy's death that I had to make things better with my parents. Not just because Freddy asked me to but because I love them too much to keep this wall between us."

A couple of tears filled Lindsay's eyes, not sad tears at the thought of her loss but tears of relief that Danny was trying to work things out. Still she could see the pain in his face and knew it hadn't gone as well as he wanted it to. "And?"

"I call Ma and as soon as I bring up the subject she hangs up on me. I go to the house and she won't even unlock the screen door to let me in. Hell, I've probably been out to Staten Island more in the last three days than I have in the last three years without any success. I don't know Montana, maybe I screwed up too much this time or maybe I let too much time pass. I want to fix things but I can't if she won't give me a chance. I don't know what to do. I thought about writing everything I wanted to say down in a letter but I don't think she'd read it. I know Pop won't."

Lindsay could see how much this was hurting Danny. "You can't give up. Eventually they'll have to realize that you had a good reason for not being there the day Louie died. And they'll realize that even if you had been there, the outcome wouldn't have been different."

Danny nodded glumly. He knew she was right but he wasn't sure how much more his pride could withstand. "I know, it's just that every time I have to make that drive back from Staten Island with yet another failure on my part, it just gets harder and harder."

"How about I go with you? That way at least if she won't listen you won't have to make the drive back alone. We can go now if you want."

The offer warmed Danny's heart but he shook his head. "I can't ask you to do that. After all, you just got home and you gotta be exhausted and the last thing you need is to be worrying about me…"

Lindsay cut him off. "You didn't ask, I offered. Danny, I never would have gotten through those first days after Uncle Freddy died if it hadn't been for you and the others. I want to do this for you." She recalled the words Freddy had said to her not long before he died. Being able to worry about someone you love is a privilege people shouldn't take lightly. "As for worrying about you; it's a privilege I don't plan on taking lightly. Please, it's what Freddy would want."

Danny chuckled lightly. Hadn't he used the same argument just a few days ago to convince her to eat and to not blame herself? "Aw right then, if you're sure. I don't know how I can get her to listen if she won't even let me in the house though."

Danny paid the bill and Lindsay followed him out of the diner. She touched his arm lightly. "Maybe she just needs to hear it before she can listen. If she won't unlock the screen door, talk through it until she's ready to listen. It might take her a little while. If she's anything like her son, she's probably stubborn but she'll have a good heart and will eventually come around."

- CSI: NY -

Danny pulled the Avalanche to a stop in front of his childhood home, Nervously, he turned to face Lindsay. "I don't know how long this'll take me."

She shrugged. "I've got no where else I need to be. I still have a magazine or two in my purse from the flight that I didn't get to read. Don't worry about how much time it takes, I'll be fine."

Danny nodded and opened his door. Lindsay watched as he made his way up the walkway to the front door and rapped it sharply. She said a silent prayer that this time his mother would agree to listen. For about ten minutes he stood there with no sign of anyone coming to the door. His shoulders sagged but she could see the movement of his jaw that said he was talking anyway. She hoped that somehow his words would this time find an audience.

Suddenly she saw movement inside the house and she unconsciously held her breath. A woman who had to be Danny's mouth came to the screen door, wiping her hands on a dish towel. After a second, the screen door opened slightly and she stepped out on the front porch. Tears filled Lindsay's eyes as Danny hugged the woman before leading her to the chairs sitting on the front porch. As mother and son settled on the porch to talk, Lindsay smiled. It wasn't the same as an invite in as she knew Danny had been hoping but at least it was a start. She reached into her purse and pulled out the new forensics magazine she'd picked up before her flight. She didn't mind if she had to sit in the truck all day.