Disclaimer: Not mine. I don't own the show, the characters, the plot, the words, etc. Just borrowing.
A/N: I'm not a writer, but I am a buckler to pressure - especially when the one that pressures is the lovely notesofwimsey. So, here it is. A huge thanks to Yemam2422 for the beta and the all around genius.
Chapter 1: Nothing is taking me down except you, my love
In that moment, when the door was slammed shut in her face, she knew. She knew that she was never going to be enough. Not for him, not for anyone. The thought had always been wriggling around in the back of her mind, in the back of her soul; whispering, shouting at her, telling her that she was not enough. But she used work, and him, to drown it out.
Now, however, that voice, that feeling, was all that she had. And it was right. She was not enough. Not enough to get him. Not enough to keep him. Not enough to help him. Never enough.
She really shouldn't have expected anything else. She wasn't enough to save her friends all those years ago.
She wished she was. Lord, how she wished she was.
She knew that people thought she was strong. She pretends to be, tries to be. But she's not. If she were, this wouldn't be breaking her the way that it is. He wouldn't be breaking her.
A horn honking in the distance startled her back to reality. Blinking rapidly, she looked around and noticed that she was just approaching her building. Huh. She couldn't even remember how she had gotten there. The last thing she remembered was his face and how his eyes were completely full of emptiness.
A breeze blew her long bangs into her face. She ran her shaky hands through her hair, securing it behind her ears. She reached for a chunk of hair that refused to be pushed back and found it to be stuck to her cheek. She realized, then, that she was crying. She looked around, more or less satisfied that no one had noticed her. Thankful, she picked up her pace and ran up the stairs and into her building.
Once inside her apartment, she kicked off her shoes and padded over to the kitchen sink. She turned on the water, letting it run over her hands, her wrists – welcoming the slight pain from the cold water. She cupped her hands, catching the water and then splashing it over her face. Gasping and coughing, she hoped the icy sting of the water would cause a little clarity in her mind. Forgoing the towel, she turned off the faucet and made her way over to her couch, her face dripping, her teeth chattering from the cold. She pulled her hands up into her long sleeves and used them to wipe her face, letting out a long shaky breath that she didn't know she was holding.
She never thought it would come to this; sitting in the dark, crying. Well, that wasn't entirely true. She feared it would come to exactly this. But that was before Montana, and before his pool table, and before she had completely lost herself in him.
She felt dark. She felt empty, but raw, as if someone had literally reached inside of her and turned her heart inside out. How had she let this happen? She was supposed to protect him, protect his heart. She had done nothing but fail him ever since they met. From letting his best friend get blown up, to almost getting herself blown up. From breaking his heart and pushing him away for nearly a year, to almost getting him killed because she didn't wake up in time to work her own shift. Everyday led to some way in which she had failed him.
The tears and trembling gave way to guttural sobs, as she curled up into a ball on her hundred-dollar, thrift store couch. She'd hoped that her tears would serve as some sort of baptism, washing away the sins of being completely inadequate and unable to help him the way he helped her. Feelings of total self-pity washed all over her – paralyzing her, numbing her.
A strange vibration against her hip startled her and then disappeared as quickly as it came. Her phone. She was ashamed and disgusted that she immediately thought that it was Danny calling to apologize. She wasn't going to answer it. Absolutely no good could come of answering it, no matter who it was.
Shit. Wasn't she still technically on call?
The call, having long since gone to voice mail, was forcing her to stop wallowing, and quite frankly, she wasn't sure that she wanted to. She once again used her sleeve to wipe the wetness off of her face. Sitting up and pulling her phone off her belt, she wondered what would be the worst that could happen if she pretended like the call never came. She sat, in silence, staring at her phone like it would tell her all of the right things to do and say to make everything right, letting the light from it illuminate her entire apartment.
The vibrating started again and she gave a little yelp of surprise as the phone jiggled in her hand.
She took a deep breath and hit the talk button.
"Monroe," she said as authoritatively and unemotionally as she possibly could.
"Lindsay? You alright?" The concern she heard in Flack's voice told her that she didn't even come close to pulling off unemotional or authoritative.
She cleared her throat, hoping that Flack would be dumb enough to believe that that was the reason her voice sounded so pathetic.
"What's up?" She countered, answering a question with another question in yet another lame attempt to throw Flack off her trail.
"DB found on the corner of 27th and Pine. You ok to go?"
She cleared her throat again, hoping that it didn't sound like she was overcompensating. "I'll be right there," she shot out before quickly hanging up the phone. There was no way he bought that. He was a fucking detective for Christ's sake.
She sat on the couch for another moment, trying in vain to collect herself, to get some semblance of calm. She could do this. She was a goddamn professional. She had been doing this long before she met Danny, long before her life became some sort of cosmic joke. She was too fucking stubborn to let this get in the way of her work. Lindsay Monroe, from Bozeman, Montana DID NOT fucking roll over and die for a guy.
With that as her mantra, she stood up, albeit on shaky legs, and headed towards her bedroom to put on some dry clothes. She wore all black, using it like some kind of body armor, as if looking tough was going to make her tough. She went into her bathroom, where she washed her face, once again in cold water, this time to try to hide the fact that she was weak, that she spent the last hour, or more, crying. She applied her makeup very liberally and brushed a couple of small snags out of her hair. Finally satisfied, she made her way out of her apartment and to the crime scene.