Disclaimer: Still not mine...

A/N: I really can't thank you all enough for your wonderful words of encouragement. What an ego boost! And deepest thanks to Yemam2422, who inspires me completely. Not only is she an amazing beta, but she is an amazing writer as well. Check out her new Flack/Angell story Complicated Kisses.

Chapter 2: I could survive, but I don't want to...

From the moment he slammed the door on her, he felt immediately better. More than that, he felt relieved. At least this was one thing in his life that he could say he did right. He saved someone's life. Not the small, innocent life that he was supposed to save. No, that life was gone for good and nothing could change that. Of that he was painfully aware.

The life he saved was no less important, however, than the one lost. The life he saved was beautiful and graceful and extraordinary. And it was more critical to do all that he could to keep it protected -from him.

Because, make no mistake, he was dangerous. He was dark and volatile, misery personified, full of revulsion. He was quicksand. He was like a plague on everyone who knew him. And the worst part was he didn't give a fuck.

No, he didn't give a fuck, except for this one thing. This one life. Her life. Her life, which might as well be his life. And honestly, if he really thought about it, her life had been his life for much longer than either of them would like to believe.

That was why he felt nothing but immense relief at the sound of the door slamming closed.

Then it hit him. It hit him with the force of a building imploding. It hit him so hard he had to brace himself against the door to keep from falling; from imploding himself.

She was gone. Really gone. And she wasn't coming back. Ever. He tried to draw a deep breath; hoping, trying to make this somehow make sense again, make this ok. Make his decision to shut her out feel like it was supposed to – good. Noble. Fucking amazing!

If he could only catch his breath. He was fucking breathing underwater. He slammed his fist against the wall and immediately went to seek his salvation.

Like an oasis, the bottle sat on the kitchen counter, waiting, wanting to be used. He grabbed a glass, because he was not that far gone. He refused to let himself be that far gone. Yet. The lid was unscrewed and discarded over his shoulder and the bottle immediately emptied into his glass.

He had it down in two quick swallows. It wouldn't be enough. He was sinking. He needed more. He searched. He searched for another bottle. He searched like it was the evidence that would break the case. He searched like his apartment was a fucking crime scene.

Who was he kidding? His apartment was a crime scene. He had massacred someone there. He had reached his bare hands into her chest and pulled out her big, vivacious heart.

And then he danced in her blood.

And the truth was this couldn't have even been called a crime of passion. There was no passion involved. It was all premeditated. It was cold and calculating and God damn it, he needed another drink!

He saw it, like a beacon in the cupboard over his refrigerator. He stopped himself. Was he really that desperate? He grabbed the bottle around the neck, hesitantly, like it would come alive and bite him. He read the label – like it mattered. But if he was dancing in her blood, the least he could do is drink a toast to her. Celebrate what she used to be, who she used to be. Because she was gone now.

He grabbed his glass, he didn't have a proper one for the drink, but it hardly mattered now. He seized the bottle, forcefully this time, and pulled the cork out with a resounding 'pop.' He filled his glass with the thick red liquid and the memories, along with the smell, assaulted him.

It was her first case back, in more ways than one. Yes, it was the first case since she had gotten back from Montana, but it was also the first case where the real Lindsay was back. No more scared, tentative, quiet Lindsay. This Lindsay was the one who carried a knife with her to a crime scene. This Lindsay was the one who tackled people twice her size. This Lindsay was the one that ate wasp tamales. This Lindsay was his Lindsay. His Montana.

He remembered how working this case, this fucking cockroach case, made him feel like he could breathe again. He lifted the glass up to his lips, daring himself to taste.

He remembered how she was the one that spotted the fake wine label. And when he questioned her apparent knowledge on the subject she had replied, "We're more than just beer and buffalo burgers, Messer." And he loved her more.

Could he do it? Could he taste this wine from a glass instead of from her soft, beautiful lips?

He closed his eyes , took a deep breath and tipped the glass. The taste coated his tongue and it was wrong. So wrong. But that just made his resolve stronger. He drank more. And more. Until all taste was lost. And the memories faded. And he could breathe again.

He did the right thing. Of this he was now certain.