Welcome To The Harem

Isolation by Scifinerdgrl
Summary: Follmer starts a journal at the suggestion of his prison psychiatrist. FRR, pre-xf, Release post-ep.

From: "scifinerdgrl"
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 21:56:52 -0500
Subject: NEW: Isolation
Source: direct

Author: Scifinerdgrl
Title: Isolation
Rating: PG
Classification: VR, Follmer P.O.V.
Spoilers: Release
Keywords: Follmer/Reyes Relationship, Pre-XF Story,
Post-Ep ("Release")
Summary: Follmer starts a journal at the suggestion of his
prison psychiatrist

5 a.m.

I had that dream again. I don't know how I'm going to shake it
... how I'll be able to forget about her.... if I'll ever be
able to talk about her instead of scribbling in this notebook
for you to read... I'm almost glad now that I attacked my
cellmate. I need to be alone to do this. He would surely have
found a way to read it...

So the dream... It was the same one. Monica and I are dancing to
old-fashioned big band music. Everything is flowing. I am tall
and graceful. Her flared skirt makes her look like an angel as
she pirouettes under my raised hand. When the dance ends, I put
her into a dip that makes her laugh. I pull her back up and we
kiss, twirling around as the music starts again. We aren't
following the music and we don't care. Her kiss swallows me up
and we are melding together into one being... yin and yang, as
she would say... each completing the other.

Suddenly the music turns menacing and a foul-smelling wind pulls
her away from me. I try to hold on, but she isn't trying. She
just lets it suck her away and she's laughing. At first I think
she's laughing from the pleasure of flying, but then I realize
she's laughing at me.

I wake up sweating, and my whole body is yearning for her. My
*whole* body... And then for the rest of the day, like every
other day I've awoken to this dream, I will try to forget. But
I know I won't be able to. Now that I'm in solitary it's even
worse. Everything I try to think of brings me back to her.
Looking up at the sky makes me remember walking hand-in-hand
under a crystal blue sky in Cancun. Even thinking about a window
reminds me of lazy Sunday mornings, reading the New York Times in
bed together, occasionally glancing outside to reflect on the
news, or to try to think of a five-letter word for the puzzle.
When they let me out to take my shower, the security cameras
remind me of the videotape that put me here, and of the
surveillance photos of Monica that Regali used to turn me against
my better judgement.

Those photos... the way he hinted that he'd been following her.
Not me, her! He was following her to get to me. "Every man has
his weakness," he'd said as I opened the envelope. But I can
never see it that way. Monica wasn't my weakness. She was my
strength. Loving her was the best, noblest thing I've ever done,
and I would have given my life to protect her. If getting out
will depend on developing remorse for what I did to Regali, I'll
never get out.

At least I know she's safe now. Regali's gone, and she has that
ex-cop watching her back. What happens to me is beside the
point.

During those two years when she was in Louisiana the one thought
that sustained me was that maybe Regali couldn't get to her
there. I had a friend in that field office, and I asked about
her a few times, but I had to stop. My feelings were just too
obvious to him, and I wasn't sure how far I could trust him.
Monica was having a hard enough time there without word getting
around that she'd had a relationship with her supervisor. The
other agents were all men, except one very bitchy woman who
didn't like the competition. And none of them had any use for
her goofy ideas.
In New York she had me watching out for her, making sure nobody
made things hard for her. Without my protection she felt the
full force of her colleagues' disapproval.

Monica, Monica, Monica... I never meant to make things worse for
you. I never meant to hurt you...


11 a.m.
I'm not sure this writing thing is going to work. After what I
wrote this morning, the shaking and crying started again, and I
couldn't write. And I couldn't eat my breakfast even though I
was hungry. I'd like to believe you're right, that doing this
will help me get well, but it feels worse.


2 p.m.
Okay, I'll try again. I managed to force down my lunch, and it
stayed down for a change. Maybe this morning's writing helped
after all.

New Orleans... those two years... The first year, when I was
still in New York, I buried myself in my work, trying to forget
her. I only heard from Regali a few times, and the favors he
wanted were small. I had no plan, no goal, no ambitions, but my
hard work made it look like I was angling for a promotion. Or
maybe Regali's people decided they wanted someone in D.C. In
either case, my promotion was not something I'd worked for or
wanted, but I couldn't turn it down. I needed to make some
honest money if I wanted to get out from under Regali. And even
after a year without any contact from Monica, I still held out
hope that we'd get back together. My plan of quitting the FBI,
marrying her, and living off my retirement money for awhile was
still the carrot before my eyes.

I had no idea, of course, why she had broken things off. During
those two years apart I went back over our two years together,
over and over and over... I couldn't see what had gone wrong.
She was my soulmate. I was sure of it, and I'd thought she felt
the same way. The day when she announced she was leaving New
York, and leaving me, is seared into my memory. I remember
everything about it -- what I had for breakfast, what time it
was when she came to my office (it was 10:13), what I was
wearing, what she was wearing. I can see it in my mind's eye
today as clearly as I could that day. She was wearing a V-neck
sweater, made from yarn with just a bit extra fuzziness.
Chenille, I think it's called. It was ribbed, and each rib of
the ribbing cried out for me to touch it, and caress it. And I
did. I told her I loved that sweater, and I ran my hand over
one of her breasts, admiring the velvety smoothness of the
sweater as much as the woman underneath. She should have loved
that. She should have purred and begged me to touch the other
breast, but instead she pulled my hand away with such force that
I almost wondered if a stranger had taken her place.

We'd had fights, like any couple, but only a few, and there had
never been any secret about why we were fighting. She was
always honest with me, and to the extent I was able, I was always
honest with her. But this time was different. She wouldn't say
what was wrong. I could see the tears gathering in her eyes, and
I knew it was something very, very bad. She blurted out her
news: she was transferring to New Orleans, and would not be
contacting me. And she made a point of telling me -- not asking
me -- telling me not to contact her. I begged her to tell me
why, but she refused.

After she left my office I just stood there for a good ten
minutes. It was like I was in a trance. When I came to, my
secretary was helping me sit down. She looked scared, and
urged me to take some sick time. I went home in a daze, but
I couldn't stand being there. My bed, the sofa, the kitchen
chairs... I saw Monica everywhere I looked. I could even smell
her, or I thought I could.

I left my apartment and started walking. I walked down Broadway,
and when I got to the Financial District I turned around and
walked back uptown. When I got to 125th Street, I turned around
and walked downtown again. I did that at least three times,
until well after midnight. A light drizzle started falling, and
the moisture in the air made the stench of garbage and urine all
the stronger as I went past subway stations and alleys reeking
from restaurant dumpsters. I think it was those smells that
first brought me back to reality. I was somewhere in the 70s,
and close to home, but I still couldn't face going there alone.
I sat at a covered bus stop, trying to think of what to do next,
and then the full force of reality hit and the tears finally
started falling. I leaned back against the plexiglass and let
the tears stream down as I stared at the spiderwebs on the
ceiling. My throat was closing up, and I tilted my head further
and further back to catch some air. After several minutes, I
felt a gentle hand on my shoulder, and I looked over,
instinctively expecting to see Monica. Instead, I saw a bus
driver, concern in his eyes.

"Are you okay? Want me to call paramedics?" he asked. His bus
was at the stop, lights on, wipers going, a few passengers
looking through their windows with curiosity.

Embarrassment gave me just enough strength and energy to make my
apologies and get back on my feet, which were tired and sore from
walking. I walked back downtown, to the Theatre District, and
found a room in a touristy hotel. I was soaking wet by this
time, red-eyed, and without any luggage. The clerk seemed a
little frightened by my appearance, so I said, "My wife kicked
me out."

Lying had become so easy for me after I started sneaking around
with Monica, and then I polished the skill even more when I had
to lie to Monica to see Regali. The lie worked, and I spent the
night there. The next day at work everybody knew that something
was wrong, but I couldn't say a word to anyone. And I never did.
I guess that's your point in having me write this down.

******************
8:00

That first year after Monica left I sent her a few e-mails, a
Valentine's card, and a birthday card. Even after it was obvious
she wouldn't reply I still needed to send them. Valentine's Day
was the hardest. I'd made plans in advance.... way in advance.
I'd made reservations for our favorite hotel in Barbados. It was
where we'd taken our first vacation together, and I wanted that
day to be magical. I didn't tell her about any of my plans, and
she had no idea I'd bought a ring.

I couldn't take the ring back -- it was engraved -- but I didn't
want to anyway. I'd intended it to be a reminder to her of how
much I loved her, but it became instead a reminder to me that
she'd once loved me, or that I'd once thought she had. On
Valentine's Day, when I should have been giving her that ring,
I just sat in my living room, going through mementoes from our
time together, hoping she would read my card then call me. But
when she didn't call, I decided I couldn't let myself go to
pieces like I had the day she broke it off, so I got stinking
drunk and passed out on the sofa.

The next morning I felt like shit, and I hated myself for
wallowing in my self-pity. I put all the mementoes and the ring
in a box and stuffed it into the far corner of a closet shelf,
and when I moved to D.C. I made a point of shoving that box to
the back of my new closet too.

Things were looking up in D.C. New job, new place, new
neighbors... A few old friends working in the Hoover Building.
And I found a few good handball players to work off steam with.
But Monica was always at the back of my mind. I kept an eye on
the New Orleans Field Office, and now that I was supervising
organized crime investigations for the whole country I had reason
to contact New Orleans. From what I could tell, Monica was
miserable there. Without meaning to, I started keeping my ear
to the ground, waiting for an opportunity to mention her to
someone who could transfer her to D.C.

And then she showed up ... and started working with the one
person I couldn't stand to see her with.

Her relationship with that ex-cop had always been an issue
between us. His wife started divorce proceedings soon after
Monica started seeing me, and he "needed her support," whatever
that meant. What it meant to me was that there was another man in
her life, a man who could snap his fingers and summon her at a
moment's notice, a man who represented everything I could never
be... A man whose fondest dream was a house in the suburbs, a
white picket fence, a happy family...

As tragic as his loss had been, the idea that I could never fully
commit to Monica because of my job -- our jobs -- was devastating
to me. Back in New York, every time she left me to go to him,
every time she turned away from me while on the phone with him,
every time she blanked her computer screen as I passed behind
her... all those times she saw children playing in the street and
misted up... All those times she was thinking about him when she
was with me, all those times ate me up inside.

So when I was monitoring the security cameras at the Hoover
building, looking for ... well, looking for agents who were
crooked like me... and I saw her getting involved with him, and
with that insane X-Files office, and then seeing an A.D. shoot
an unarmed man... I couldn't let her get dragged into that. I
spent the whole weekend cleaning up that mess, just so she
wouldn't get into trouble. I checked the New Orleans field
office, and she'd taken vacation time, so I thought she'd be
going back.

I tracked her down, and found her, alone, in a hotel. I called
her, and she seemed surprised to hear from me. Well, I guess she
should have been, but I'd secretly hoped that she would want to
hear from me. I hadn't slept the night before, and although I
waited as long as I could before calling her, I think I woke her
up. It seemed like it took her forever to get to my office.
While I waited I paced, in circles, kind of like I'm doing here
in my cell, and I rehearsed what I would say to her.

Finally, I heard a rustling in the outer office and it was her.
She looked as good as ever, and my entire speech went right out
the window. She seemed a little nervous, and I assumed she was
anxious about seeing me -- anxious in a good way. But when I
kissed her, she pulled back. I couldn't understand it at first.
I was so sure she wanted to see me... but then she made it clear
she wasn't. I regrouped, barely, and showed her how I'd cleared
up her mess for her. I was hoping that if she wouldn't give me
her love at least I could at least earn her gratitude, but that
didn't happen. She didn't understand it, and even seemed annoyed.

Then I made the mistake of bringing up that ex-cop. Seeing her
with him on the tape drove me crazy, I guess, and when I
mentioned him to her she was offended. We'd been over this so
many times and it had never been resolved. That morning itt was
like starting the old arguments all over again, and by the time
she left she was so angry I thought I'd never see her again. Then
she called me an invited me out for a drink.

******************

This is the part you want to read, isn't it, doctor? You want to
read how my obsession got worse and drove me over the edge. You
couldn't be more wrong. Sure, I wanted Monica back, but it was
not to be and deep down I think I knew it.

That night in the bar I'd let Monica know that she still had
power over me, and she used it. She knew I couldn't stand to see
her go back to New Orleans, and she manipulated me into pulling
strings to help her stay in D.C. I let her do it. What else
could I do?

And then I could only stand by helplessly as she fell deeper
in love with that ex-cop. I'm not a fool. I saw that it really
was over between us. And just as I'd begun to let go, when I'd
finally adjusted to the idea of a future without her, she told me
the truth. Sitting there next to HIM, she told me what she'd
seen and why she'd left me. I tried to explain, but I couldn't
fool her. She didn't just hate what I'd done, she hated me, and
seeing what she'd fallen for, I knew I could never be a John
Doggett.

She'd made her choice, and I couldn't blame her. When I found
out what Regali had done, how he'd killed that innocent boy, I
hated what I'd become too, and I hated the man who'd invited me
to the dark side and cost me my angel. And when it looked like
her new man was going to follow me down that road, throwing away
her chance for happiness, I couldn't let that happen. If I
couldn't redeem myself, at least I could redeem him.

I don't regret what I did. I did it for her. I did it all for
her.

And I'd do it again.

THE END