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Postcards From The Past by Scifinerdgrl
Summary: Reyes agrees to help Follmer close his apartment after he goes to prison for shooting Regali. Follmer/Reyes.

From: "scifinerdgrl"
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 21:58:08 -0500
Subject: NEW: Postcards from the Past
Source: direct

AUTHOR: Scifinerdgrl
TITLE: Postcards from the Past
KEYWORDS: Post-Ep ("Release"), Follmer/Reyes Romance,
Follmer/Reyes Friendship, Doggett/Reyes Friendship
SUMMARY: Reyes agrees to help Follmer close his apartment after
he goes to prison for shooting Regali.

She had made this walk many times, interviewing suspects whom she
had had incarcerated. They had always been strangers, never
anyone she could ever care for. Knowing there were dozens of
cameras and microphones planted around the visiting room had
always given her a sense of security. This day she wished there
could be some real privacy. This day she would be visiting Brad
Follmer, her former lover and fellow FBI agent.

She sat at a table, relieved to find he was not considered a high
enough risk to be kept behind a plexiglass barrier. Maybe prison
would not be so horrible for him after all. She resolved to help
him get transferred to one of the infamously cushy "country club"
prisons. As reprehensible as his crime was, she hated to think
he would live out his days in the company of drug addicts, child
molesters, and gang bangers.

A few minutes passed while she waited for him. She watched the
faces of the other pairs of people in the room -- tearful wives,
nervous parents... how would she appear to them? She had no idea
how she would feel. And the prisoners, their happy expressions
barely concealing the deep despair they lived with the other 23
hours of the day... how would Brad seem? She was there partly
from curiosity. His letter was brief and cryptic: "Please come
to visit me. I need to talk to you." He needed her... Her mind
ran through dozens of things he might want... each one raising an
uncomfortable mix of feelings, both old and new. She knew he
still loved her. And for that reason alone she felt a sense of
obligation to this doomed man.

Brad the prisoner shuffled through a door at the far end of the
visiting room, escorted by a muscular guard. She couldn't help
feeling a twinge of the old joy she used to feel when they dated,
when he'd arrive at their favorite restaurant for one of their
rare public "coincidental" events. He didn't see her at first,
his eyes were on the floor, shame pressing down on his shoulders.
When the guard stopped him at their table he looked up with
difficulty, and when he saw her concerned face he smiled for the
first time in weeks, maybe months.

They waited until the guard had assumed his position a discreet
distance from their table, then Monica reached her hands across
the table. He put his hands on hers and she could feel a slight
tremble, very unlike his usual authoritative, controlling touch.
Immediately she sensed that this was not the same man who had
betrayed her. This Brad Follmer was broken and helpless. She
resisted the urge to pull her hands away from his trembling
neediness. Whatever he wanted, she would hear him out.

"Thank you for coming," he said gratefully. "I didn't think you

"Of course I would, Brad," Monica said soothingly, rubbing her
hands on his in an attempt to calm them. "I hate what you did,
but I don't hate you."

"Thank you," he said, his voice shaky and a little gravelly.
They sat in silence as they both waited for him to find his
composure. The look of pity in her eyes was something he hadn't
counted on, and as much as it hurt his pride to be in jail in the
first place, her pity made it even worse. "Monica," he started,
then paused to swallow back his tears. "I need your help."

Stroking his hands, she tried to find the soothing tone that had
worked when his sister had died. It was the only other time
she'd seen him cry. "I'm here for you," she said. "Whatever you

"My parents..." he decided to blurt out what he could before his
emotions closed off his voice again. "They're flying in to close
up my apartment. I need you to..." The pitch of his voice
rising, his shoulders shaking, he mustered all his willpower to
force out the last few words of his request. "...go through my
things... get rid of anything they shouldn't see.... this is
hard enough for them."

Monica's sympathy immediately jumped from Brad to his parents.
She'd met them twice, once at his sister's funeral, the other
time when he brought them New York to celebrate their
anniversary. Monica realized now, as his parents surely did
also, where the money for that trip had come from. "Of course I
will, Brad," she said. "Want me to help them after they get

Surprised, he flashed a grateful smile and eagerly asked, "Could
you? I know it's a lot to ask.."

"I like them," Monica reassured him. "And this can't be easy for
them." Their eyes locked, acknowledging what an understatement
this was. Brad the over-achieving fair-haired son, who had gone
to Princeton on scholarship, whose career had been a source of
pride for his entire family... Brad the good boy was now Brad the
convicted felon. Monica knew that nobody else in Brad's life
would understand their pain the way she would. If she didn't
help them, who would?

"You're a good person, Monica," Brad said sincerely. "You have
no idea how grateful I am for what you're doing."

She smiled awkwardly and squeezed his hands. "I have some idea,"
she said comfortingly. "And I also have some idea how difficult
it was for you to ask for help."

"You know me well," Brad relaxed and smiled.

Monica sighed. She wasn't so sure. She was shocked when she saw
him take a bribe, and his shooting of Regali and subsequent
confession had also taken her by surprise. "Is there anything
specific you want me to do... with your apartment?" If they
didn't stick to business, she might cry at any moment. She
resolved to stay strong for both their sakes.

"The bureau turned it upside down looking for evidence... If you
could try to make it look more... civilized?... for my parents'
sake?" His voice was cracking, but her nods of assent helped him
regain control. "And if you find anything... special... from New
York... from our times together... it's yours to keep."

Her eyes popped open at this mention of mementoes. "From New
York? What do you mean, Brad?"

"Consider it a gift... whatever you find that reminds you of New
York... in my closet... on the top shelf..." his voice cracking,
he couldn't continue.

"Brad," she started, her voice lowering for sympathetic emphasis.
"That's in the past... I don't know..."

"Just keep it, please," Brad pleaded, tears welling up in his
eyes. "I want you to have it. It would mean a lot to me."

From the corner of her eye she could see the guard approaching.
"Our time's up... I'll do it, Brad... You can count on me."

"I know," he smiled through his tears and squeezed her hands
until her knuckles hurt. "Thank you for coming." She smiled a
"you're welcome." As the guard stood behind him Brad's
authoritative voice returned, and he added, "My lawyer has the
key, and my parent's itinerary. He knows I've asked you to do

A musty smell greeted Monica as she opened the door to Brad's
apartment. Her heart sank as she saw the job before her. Papers
were strewn all over the apartment, drawers were left open or
turned upside down on the floor, and even the kitchen cabinets
were in a chaotic state. She pulled her cellphone from her
pocket and hit Number 1 in its stored numbers. "John Doggett,"
she heard on the other end.

"Hi John. I've changed my mind. I could use your help after
all." After his promise to be right there, Monica put the phone
back and tried to develop a plan. John would take the living
room and kitchen, she decided. She would take the private zones
-- bedroom and closet.

Within minutes John was at the door, and he let out a 'whew' as
he saw the mess left by the investigators. He had to admit he'd
done the same a few times himself, and he'd never given a thought
to the people who would have to set things right afterward. His
partner's face showed the pain of the task at hand, and he felt
compelled to comfort her. Putting his arm around her waist, he
said softly, "What a mess... "

She sighed her response, but as comforting as his sympathy was it
was also grating to her. "You take the living room and kitchen.
I'll be in the closet," she ordered.

He watched as she made her way through the piles on the floor,
happy to see that she seemed not to know her way around this
apartment. Although he'd been resisting her charms for almost a
year, he couldn't help feeling a little possessive and jealous
when it came to Brad. John knew that Brad's sudden interest in
the X-Files could be attributed to his long-time interest in
Agent Reyes, but John's own interest in Agent Reyes would have to
wait until he was ready to express it. After releasing Luke's
ashes into the ocean, and Brad's incarceration, the barriers
between them had been shrinking daily. It was only a matter of

When she had disappeared around a doorway he went to the kitchen
and got started on the first cabinet.

Monica couldn't help but be impressed by the furnishings in the
bedroom. Modern, sleek, and no doubt expensive, Brad's bedroom
spoke to his ambitions and smelled of dirty money. Turning her
back on this evidence, she sought out the closet shelf Brad
wanted her to see. It was empty, its contents strewn on the
floor along with the contents of the other shelves. She pushed
the sweaters and shoes aside to give herself a place to sit, then
started going through Brad's possessions. Soon she found the
mementoes she sought -- Princeton Club receipts, pictures from
their trip to Cancun, letters in her hand-writing and a few
e-mail print-outs... She found an empty box and started filling
it with these memories of better times. She picked up a pile of
postcards from their trips together, trips she'd always thought
Brad could afford on his salary, and started going through them.
Las Vegas, Paris, Barbados... they were wonderful times, when
they didn't have to sneak around, when they could be affectionate
in public... His ease at covering up their surreptitious
activities should have given her a clue to his character, but
she'd never suspected a thing. Her own desire for his expert
love-making and romantic whispers blocked out all rational
thoughts on her part. Seeing these postcards forced her to admit
to herself that the anger she'd been directing toward Brad was
partly anger at her own blindness and naivete. As a trained
investigator, she should not have been taken in like that... and
as a woman, she should not have let her lust overcome her better
judgment... She sighed, feeling a sense of closure for this
relationship that shouldn't have been. She bit back tears and
reached for the last postcard. Hawaii. Their last weekend
together. Her last days of innocence...

As her fingers slipped under it, she felt something hard and
velvety. Instantly she recognized it as a jewelry box, and
pushed the postcard aside. It was a ring. Monica's heart sank.
No, she prayed... this couldn't be what she feared it might
be.... Steeling herself against the wellspring of feelings that
either outcome would elicit, she opened it. A piece of paper
fluttered out, neatly folded to fit into the tiny box. She
grabbed it and read it, grateful for an excuse to postpone
looking into the box. It was a receipt, and she recognized the
date: two days before she broke off their relationship. It was
itemized, listing a ring and a fee for engraving. Big red
letters read "CASH. Non-refundable" at the bottom, under a
five-figure total. She stoically reached for the box, ignoring
the tears that had started streaming down her cheeks. It was
what she'd feared, a diamond engagement ring. She gasped as the
diamonds refracted the light. She couldn't help admiring its
beauty. He knew her too well. He'd picked exactly the style and
look that would please her, and it still did. She pulled it from
its container and squinted to read the engraving inside. "To
Monica. I love you forever. Brad"

Reading those words brought forth the torrent of mixed emotions
that she'd dammed up for three years, and she dropped the ring as
she buried her face in her hands. She felt for Brad. She felt
for herself. She felt for the unfairness of it all, despite the
justice Brad was finally facing...

John's voice came from around the corner. "Geez, Monica... Who
went through this place?" he shouted as he walked to the door, a
broken antique vase in his hand. He stopped when he saw her.
He'd never seen her like that, despite the openness of their
friendship. She was the strong one, the one who had comforted
him after Luke's death, the one he wanted at his side after
releasing Luke's ashes to the winds. He set the vase down and
knelt at her side. "What is it, Mon?' he asked gently, putting
an arm around her shoulders.

She buried her face in his chest and sobbed freely, unleashing
the full force of her emotions. He held her close, stroking her
hair and resting his head close to hers. "Shhhhh" he whispered.
"It's alright..." He rocked her gently from side to side as her
sobs grew louder and more intense, then gradually slowed and
calmed. Over her shoulder he could see the cause of this
uncharacteristic outburst: a diamond ring. Things between her
and Brad had been more serious than he realized. And maybe more
serious than she'd realized too. He continued rocking her, happy
to have this opportunity to be there for her the way she had been
for him. And without any more conversation between them, he knew
what was happening. Just as he'd needed to be released from his
grief and guilt over Luke before he could love her openly,
perhaps she needed her own release.