Welcome To The Harem

The Lone Hand by Deslea R. Judd
Summary: In the early days of their partnership, Jeffrey and Diana reach an understanding. The Beginning missing scene.

This is just for the Harem now, and especially for MJ. I have a
self-imposed goal: no posting of any more fic until I get the email down to
150. I give it a week until I either meet the goal or crumble under the
pressure. *grin*

The Lone Hand
Deslea R. Judd
Copyright 2003

RATING: PG. Pretty harmless.
DISCLAIMER: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
ARCHIVE: Sure, just keep my name and headers.
SPOILERS/TIMEFRAME: The Beginning missing scene. Implied spoilers for
CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: Spender/Fowley friendship, Gibson.
SUMMARY: In the early days of their partnership, Jeffrey and Diana reach an
DEDICATION: For Maidenjedi, who asked for therapeutic Dianafic.
MORE FIC: http://fiction.deslea.com
FEEDBACK: Love the stuff. deslea@deslea.com.

"You want to tell me what happened out there?"

Diana drew back, stifling a gasp. She clutched her towel closer on reflex,
but Jeffrey was facing away from her, looking out the window at the rising
sun. She relaxed a little.

"You'll read it in my report, just like everyone else, Agent Spender," she
said, walking to the bed with studied casualness and sitting down to put on
her underwear. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of hurrying.
Besides, it would give her time to regain her composure. She was still on
painkillers, and she wasn't in peak form. "What are you doing in my hotel

"I've been waiting for you. I'd have thought, so soon after being shot,
that you'd be more careful. You didn't even turn on the light before you
got in the shower."

She fastened the clasp of her bra. "I'm decent. You can turn around." She
pulled on her shirt, smoothing her hand instinctively over her scar. "We
were at a nuclear power plant with documented technical difficulties
overnight, Agent Spender. I just wanted to be safe."

"Jeffrey. And I notice that didn't stop you from taking a four hour drive
after Mulder was apprehended."

"I was restless, Jeffrey," she said, stressing his name a little. "Gunplay
does that to me."

"Well, while you were off being restless, I was questioning Mulder. He says
he was there trying to rescue Gibson Praise. That he was in a locked room."

"It's possible. I didn't see him. Pass my trousers?" she said, nodding to
the chair beside him.

Jeffrey complied. "Mulder may be many things - deluded among them - but he
isn't a liar. He likes shooting off his mouth too much. I think Gibson was
there. And I think someone took him away."

Diana made a noncommittal sound and buttoned her trousers. She rose.

"Sure." He followed her to the side table. She inspected the hotel cutlery
critically and decided it would pass. "But you see my problem, Diana," he
said, watching her. "You were out there with him. And you were gone for
hours afterwards. If I put this theory of mine into my report, that makes
trouble for us."

"I suppose it does." She handed him his coffee and poured her own.

He took it and drank a little. "I've done some digging. Agent Scully
admitted a boy fitting Gibson's description to Phoenix Samaritan Medical
Center yesterday. She was performing tests on him. Tests that weren't
medically indicated. There were signs of prior brain surgery." He shook
his head. "They just got back from Antarctica. Mulder paid for that out of
his own funds. Their zeal worries me, Diana. They're extremists. I don't
give a damn about the X Files, but their presence exposes everyone. They
exploit the victims and they expose the FBI to all kinds of problems."

She considered defending Fox, but decided against it. "You're worried that
they have Gibson - that I handed him over to Scully while you were with

"You and Mulder go back a few years. You can't blame me for wondering."

"I didn't," she insisted. "They don't have him. You have to trust me,

Jeffrey frowned. He leaned against the windowsill, looking out. "I believe
you, Diana. You took a bullet for that boy. But I feel like we're working
at cross-purposes here, and that's not how I want this to pan out."

Diana's tone was conciliatory. She took his arm. "We're more alike than
you think, Jeffrey. I don't want to make waves any more than you do. I
want to get back to basics. Hard cases, by the book. That's how it was
when Fox and I found the X Files, and that's the way I want it now."

"Is that why you took Gibson away?"

"If I took him," she said deliberately, "it was because he was at risk from
people who wanted to know what was in him. People within the Bureau. And
because we couldn't have kept him safe ourselves."

"You mean he was at risk from Mulder and Scully."

"You said that, not me." She looked past him, out at the horizon. "There
are a lot of extremists out there, you know."

He frowned a little. "Yes, there are."

"Sometimes it's better to play a lone hand. I think you know that already."

She felt him watching her. Wondering how much she knew, probably. "I

"We can do this, Jeffrey. But we have to trust each other. We have to
watch each other's backs."

Jeffrey nodded. Slow. Thoughtful. He wondered, "Does that mean I'll have
your support when I have Mulder and Scully censured?"

She hesitated. She liked to stay neutral, and Fox had liked that back when
they were together. She'd saved his ass a dozen times. She was good cop to
his bad cop against the Bureau. She hadn't bargained on being against him.

But Jeffrey was her partner now, and she had to live with that. She had her
loyalties, and Fox was among them, but sometimes you just had to play a lone

She inclined her head. "Of course." She set her cup down, and his, and
took his hand. "I'm glad we had this talk, Jeffrey."

"So am I, Diana." He shrugged her off and went to the door, and she
wondered if she'd overstepped the mark - she was tactile, but a lot of
people weren't - but he turned, and said awkwardly, "Look, why don't we make
it an easy day today? Go back to bed, get a later flight out, maybe go down
to purchasing when we get back to the Hoover and pick out the rest of the
furniture for the office. You can pick your desk, we can order our
nameplates. That kind of thing. What do you think?"

That was his version of an olive branch, she supposed. "All right. I'd
like that."

"I'll call the airline." He opened the door. "Sleep well, Diana."

She followed. "Thanks." Closed it behind him.

She leaned against the door, frowning. Her stomach twinged. She touched
her scar with her fingertips, wincing a little. She'd thrown in with Gibson
the moment she refused to hand him over, and she'd survived her punishment
for a reason. She thought now that it was so that she could do it again.
The school she'd taken him to was far away, and it would keep him safe. At
least for a while.

"I'm sorry, Fox," she murmured. "But sometimes you have to play a lone