Welcome To The Harem
Glass Menagerie by Karen
Summary: Deslea's rec: "I have a weakness for DRR anyway, but what I really like about this fic is the understated angst and affection between the protagonists. Both are palpable and real, but they pervade without being rammed down the reader's throat." DRR, spoilers to Existence, PG.
Title: _Glass Menagerie_
Author: Karen (email@example.com)
Keywords: Doggett. Reyes. Reyes POV.
Summary: 'I am just the observer, watching him-his
every move-from behind a transparent glass wall of emotions,
and doubt, and truth.'
Spoilers: Very minor: Empedocles; Essence/Existence
Disclaimer: Again, they are not mine. So, again, quit
lookin' at me like that, `kay?
Archive: All are more than welcome, just please notify me...
Author's Notes: There may be some inconsistencies in this fic, when
it's compared to the events leading up to and including Essence and
Existence. So, to be safe, let's say this can take place in AU
Lastly, this is for all you fellow Luke-a-holics out there...
The doors are hissing.
All night, they've hissed at everyone and everything that has sought
passage through them.
A doctor rushes by, juggling a clipboard and a pager.
Nurses accompany two mangled bodies from God-knows-where.
Paramedics rush in a woman.
Then a baby.
Then, a frantic, panic-stricken man enters the facility. He is much
taller than I originally thought. He pushes his way through, all the
while yelling out information. About the woman. The woman's
condition. The woman's doctor. The woman's medical history.
All night, these doors have hissed at everyone and everything.
Even at me.
I move to the hallway, and look for a phone booth.
I make my call, return to the nurse's station and ask about the
woman, the baby and the frantic, panic-stricken man.
Everything's fine. She's resting. The baby's healthy. You can't
see them yet. 'Leave me alone,' her irritated gaze silently growls
at me. Defeated, I walk to a nearby couch and sit down. I've been
sitting here for hours now.
That voice sounds familiar, I tell myself.
"You okay?" A large hand weighs down heavily on my shoulder and stays
there indefinitely. "Monica."
That voice--hopeful only hours ago, now weary and strained--is the
reason why I'm here, isn't it?
I turn my head slightly and manage a weak smile. Weak. All of us
are weak tonight, in our own way... "John. I wasn't expecting you
He nods, squeezes my shoulder and looks around him. "Yeah, yeah, I
know," he sighs. "A.D. Skinner's here, too." He stops, swallows and
studies me. Those baby blues. I don't think they'll ever know what
I'd be willing to do for them. To keep them dry. Free of tears.
Free of worry and pain.
Those baby blues are searching my face for a sign, an indication, a
clue as to what's been going on.
And what has happened.
I cut him off mercifully before he can attempt to croak out the same
question he had asked me once, long ago...
My arm swiftly moves up to grasp the hand he has placed on my
shoulder. His muscles tighten for a nanosecond. I have to remember
and understand that once again, he's preparing himself for the
worst. He's not sure of what I'm going to say next. He's not sure
of what I might tell him next.
The suspense is literally killing him, I think.
"He's alive, John. He's safe."
He closes his eyes and breathes a sigh of relief. "Thank God."
I think that's the first time in years. The first time in years that
he really meant to thank God for anything.
"Where are they? Is Agent Scully okay?"
"She's fine. They're letting her rest right now, John, she's
"When can I see her?" His eagerness to see his partner is
contradicted by the fact that he's settling down on the couch beside
me and taking off his jacket.
"Not for a while. They just--"
"Mulder. He's with Agent Scully?"
I nod and study his face. The worry lines creasing his forehead have
diminished somewhat, to be replaced with the lines created by sandy
brown eyebrows raised expectantly. "Mulder's with her right now. I
think they're letting him hold the baby, too. They're all in
there." I nod in the direction of the hallway and indicate a door
To my surprise, he bows his head and smiles. "That's great."
"It is." I stop casting quick glances at Agent Scully's room and
regard him seriously. "Are you okay?"
He nods once, all the while keeping his eyes averted from
mine. "Yeah. I should be asking _you_ that question. What happened
to you out there?"
Too much happened out there. Not just to me.
My reticence alarms him, for he knows that I have never been one to
"That bad, huh?"
I chuckle to myself before I reach into my pocket and hand him a pack
He takes it, turns his back on the nurse's reproachful expression and
furrows his eyebrows. "What's this?"
"Take a look."
With a shrug, he tilts it over.
"Nothin' in here."
I give him a 'state-the-obvious-why-don't-you' look and sigh under my
breath. "Exactly. I just bought these at the gift shop a few hours
"I need another one."
"Not so fast." His hand pulls me down before I can bolt towards the
gift shop once again. Those baby blue eyes are imploring me to look
at him. "Tell me." He pauses, clenches his jaw and swallows before
he begins again. "Tell me what happened out there."
"You won't believe me."
"You mean, I'll laugh at whatever it is you tell me."
"Well..." I give him a one-shouldered shrug before the corners of my
mouth quirk upwards to form a sheepish grin. "That too."
"Don't ask me to believe--" He cuts himself off, leans in closer,
and lowers his voice to a hoarse whisper. "Don't ask me to believe
that aliens came down from some god-forsaken place and tried to take
"I'm not asking you to believe me, John. I'm just--"
"So why'd they leave without doin' anything? What the hell's that
"I don't know."
He leans back, away from me, and regards me intently. "You don't
"Do you?" I snap back at him. "You're the strangest out of all of
us, you know that?"
"The hell does that mean?"
"You get me on the phone, and you tell me that Agent Scully's life's
in danger. Now you're sitting here telling me you don't believe any
of it. I don't think-"
"'Cause you're telling me that some alien people paid you a visit,
took a look and then drove off."
"You asked me what happened out there, John--I'm just telling you."
He looks away, releases his grip on my arm and drags a hand through
his short hair.
He's exasperated, I know.
Exasperated with me, the situation, this whole mess.
But most of all, he's exasperated with himself.
For taking that step, only to doubt himself once again and run away
from the possibilities.
"Get your cigarettes and we'll go outside."
He avoids my puzzled gaze by standing up and stalking off in the
direction of the gift shop.
The doors hiss at him as he walks through.
"Stars are out tonight."
He squints despite the dark night sky and looks up at the
heavens. "They've been out all week."
I shrug, and cross my arms over my chest in an attempt to keep warm.
One of my hands is tilted in an awkward angle under my crossed arms
to hold the cigarette away from the rest of my body. Only the slow
burning of my Morley Lights and the stars out in the sky bear witness
to our huddled figures, standing by the tailgate of his pickup.
"All week for you. It's been nothing but rain in New Orleans; I was
beginning to think--"
"Was the weather okay in Georgia?"
I nod slightly as I bring the cigarette up to my lips. "Sure," I
pause, and I watch him as he watches me take an expert drag and
exhale after a few glorious seconds of nicotine-induced
euphoria. "But that was the last thing Dana and I were worrying
about over there, John."
"Yeah," he bows his head and pensively scuffs the asphalt with his
toe. "I'll bet."
"How about on your end? What happened when we left?"
A strange half-chuckle forces its way through Doggett's parted
lips. "Don't ask."
I shrug and decide for once, not to push him.
"You wanna sit?"
"I'm almost done here."
He ignores my remark and pops the tailgate open, pulls it down and
perches on the edge, making sure to leave ample room for me to join
him. He avoids my puzzled and questioning gaze by staring at his lap
and lazily swinging his jean-clad legs in front of him. "You sure
"I'm sure one more pack of Morleys will kill me, John, but I'll be
fine by tomorrow."
"God, Monica--" he breathes in frustration. "I'm sorry I dragged you
into all this. I shouldn't have even called you. You have no idea
"Even if one of you knew _exactly_ what was going on here, you're
sure not showing it--I can feel you--all of you. You're all shaking."
"And that means what, exactly?"
I take my time answering him. No, I _stall_ before I answer him. I
wait until he looks up from his lap and tries to read my expression
with his blue eyes. "Just what I said. You're all shaking inside.
Like me. Like Agent Scully."
"Who's shakin' inside?"
"Mulder. A.D. Skinner. You. You're shaking, too."
"Yeah. Right. After everything... You bet I'm shakin'."
"You want this?"
He looks warily at the rapidly shortening cigarette I've thrusted in
front of him. "I quit. Long time ago."
"Okay." Just as I pull the offending article away, his hand reaches
out and grabs it from me. Without a word, he lifts it to his mouth
and takes a drag. His eyes close for a brief moment before he
exhales and allows the small cloud of smoke to engulf his
face. "`Hate to say it, but this _is_ good right now."
I smile to myself and slowly sit down beside him. He looks over at
me, as though it were only natural that I would join him. "Monica?"
I tilt my head to the side and study him intently.
He stares straight ahead and squints at something across the street.
He continues to finish off my cigarette, as if it had been his all
this time. "I don't wanna see the baby."
"You know, huh?"
"Is that why you're shaking? You're afraid you'll lose it in there
when you see Dana's baby?"
"It's got nothin' to do with me," he insists stubbornly, as if he's
trying to convince himself of something. "He's got nothin' to do
with me, anyway."
"You've got to make peace with this, John. You've got to make peace
with what happened to Luke--"
"Christ," he mutters under his breath as he hops off the truck
abruptly and grinds the cigarette butt with his shoe. "Is that all
we talk about?"
"It's what you want to talk about, isn't it? That's why you're
telling me you don't want to see Dana's--"
"Forget I said anything."
Too tired to argue, I shrug my shoulders and study the street, and
the neighbourhood surrounding the hospital. It's quiet, pensive--
like John. "So why did you come here, then, if you don't want to see
"I wanted to know if Agent Scully was okay. Wanted to know if her
baby's safe. If it's..." He shrugged and half-mumbled a quick 'I
dunno', with his back turned to me.
"If it's fine? If it's normal? If it isn't what you and Mulder and
Skinner thought it would be?"
He shakes his head in bewilderment at this. His gesture is a
physical expression of his attempt to distance himself from all this--
whatever this is. "It's a baby. Nothin' more," he pauses and frowns
at me. "Nothin' less. Whatever Mulder, or Skinner, or whoever else
thinks, it's alive, isn't it? Doctors checked him out and he's
fine. What more do they want? I mean, I-"
"You don't know."
He glares at me in that unmistakable Marine-Sergeant way of his
before he places his hands on his hips and sighs. "It's been a long
night. Too long. I can't do this anymore."
"So go home."
Another glare directed at me; I'm almost tempted to stand up
straight, square my shoulders and salute him in the half-empty
"So you don't know the answers to everything," I begin gently, but
widen my eyes as his glare sharpens before me. "Isn't that why
you're on the X-Files, John?"
He refuses to acknowledge my words. He chooses instead to close his
eyes and rub the bridge of his nose with his fingertips. "What am I
doin' this for?"
I wait, all the while chewing my bottom lip uneasily.
"The hell do I have to do with any of this, anyway?"
I look down and wait for his grand revelation.
"You still listening to me?"
His grand revelation eludes us both.
He's quiet for several moments. I watch his jaw clench and unclench
in contemplation, his left forearm flex and unflex as he allows his
hand to run through his short hair. "John."
An eyebrow arched in my direction, his hand resting at the nape of
his neck. "What?"
"Let's go see the baby."
"John, that's rude."
"No, it's right. I got no right to be there. Mulder's in there
"Damn it, Monica--"
"We won't stay long, we'll just drop by and--"
"No. Both of us are going. Come on."
"I got no right to be--"
"Listen to yourself, John. Why are you acting like this? It's not
like you to run away."
The Marine-Sergeant is back, this time with a vengeance that can
quite possibly kill me, should I persist in annoying him. "I'm not
"So you're coming with me. To see Dana's baby."
"Monica..." I watch as Doggett runs a large hand over his face. He's
tired, I know. He's sick of all this, I know that too. But he can't
run away. Not now, not this time.
"John. Do this. Not for yourself. Not for me. Do it for the
baby. I'm sure he wants to meet you."
"For cryin' out loud, he's a baby, Monica; he won't know the
I simply stare at him unwaveringly. If he's staying out here all
night, then so am I. I've had enough nicotine and shock for the past
several hours to last me the whole week. I can be just as stubborn,
and just as infuriating as he is right now. And besides, like I said
before, he's the reason why I'm here. I'll be damned if he won't be
the reason I can finally leave this hospital tonight.
"You will. You'll know the difference."
I hop off my perch on the tailgate and dust off my jeans. He watches
me, half-wishing that I'll turn around and walk away, and half-hoping
that I'll stay here with him.
I've already decided what to buy at the gift shop for Agent Scully
and her new baby.
I've already decided what kind of card I'll get them.
I've already decided to buy another pack of cigarettes on my way
home, just in case.
I've already decided that I'll take a long, hot bath tonight. I'll
go all out-
candles, incense, jazz-the whole thing.
I've already decided that I'll relax tonight. And sleep.
He's looking at me, as though I have the power to change his mind.
He's wrong. And he knows it.
I've already decided that I'll stay.
Here, with him, as long as he wants me to.
I sigh and hold a hand out to him. "John, come on."
"Come on where?"
I notice his clenched fists slowly, discreetly jamming themselves
into the pockets of his jacket. He won't take my hand, unless he's
sure of my motives. Smart man to the end... The Marines definitely
trained him well...
"I passed a coffee house on my way to the hospital. I don't know
about you, but I could use some sugar in my system right now. That
coffee house should have lots of dessert for us."
He nods once, bows his head briefly, then looks up at the hospital
building. "You said Mulder's with them, right?"
"He hasn't left the room, John. I don't think he'll be leaving any
"Agent Scully lost a great deal of blood, but she's fine. The baby's-
"Fine, too." He says this more to himself, before he shrugs and digs
out the keys to his pickup. "C'mon."
"Where are we going?" I ask as I wait for him to unlock the door on
the passenger's side.
He looks over his shoulder at me and stops right in front of his
You shouldn't run away like this, you know.
He's not Luke, you know. He never will be.
A thousand replies, but they're not what he wants to hear.
"I'll show you the way."
He gives me a curt nod before he walks around the truck and climbs
behind the wheel. Before he starts the engine, I awkwardly place a
hand on his elbow and force him to look at me once again.
The Marine-Sergeant is gone.
The cop from Brooklyn is gone, too.
Even the FBI Agent I've come to know so well is also gone.
We're back on that patch of damp grass. That field.
He's a father once again. I'd say, 'just a father,' but I know
that's not quite right.
And I? What am I, where am I in all this?
I am just the observer, watching him-his every move-from behind a
transparent glass wall of emotions, and doubt, and truth.
He looks away quickly, as though those two words cause him as much
pain as physically reopening the large, gaping wound in his heart.
"John, it's okay-"
"No, it's not okay." He starts the engine and drives out the parking
lot, leaving a little of everything behind. The pickup smoothly
rounds a few corners, before it finally stops in front of a coffee
house. It's not the one I had in mind, but it'll do. The silence
between us is, perhaps, the loudest, and most excruciating sound I
have ever heard lately, and I'm thankful to be released from it. Not
even the desperate entreaties of a woman in labour can compare to
I unfasten my seat belt and turn to open the door, but long fingers
digging into my forearm stop me. I settle back against my seat and
look at him. His head is bowed, his shoulders hunched and heaving
laboriously with every intake of breath.
I expect him to burst into tears any second now, but he doesn't.
"He was born a little premature--Luke was." His mumbled whisper, his
garbled words are all trying to reach out to me, to let me know, to
remind me of one thing.
Tonight, he's a father once again.
Throughout this whole ordeal, he's been reliving the birth of his son.
Tonight, Luke is more alive to him than ever before. Not since his
son's death has John ever felt this way.
For a child.
For a mother.
For a father.
"We were so worried about him."
I lean against the window and face him, unsure of what to do.
A thousand things I can do, but not one of them will comfort him.
'I've already decided that I'll stay. Here, with him, as long as he
wants me to...'
"Were you in the room when he was born?"
He nods, and smiles gradually at his lap, as though he is seeing his
past in the dark interior of his pickup truck. "Uh-huh."
"Tell me about it, John."
He looks at me, seeing me for the first time. Another smile slowly
works its way to his eyes, suddenly transforming the dark interior of
the pickup into the sunniest day of his life, a little over a decade
ago. "You wanna know what it was like when he was born?" He nods
again and squeezes my forearm thankfully, gratefully. "I'll tell
I simply stare at him. My silence reassures him, urges him to
continue. I refuse to say a word, refuse to interrupt him with my
questions, and thoughts, and opinions, for I know what I am, where I
am, in all this.
He is a father once again. He is the father once again. The proud
father once again. Of a son who is more alive tonight than he has
ever been in years.
And I? I am just the observer, watching him, the father. His every
move. From behind a transparent glass wall of emotions, and doubt,
John gradually releases my arm and settles back into his seat. His
posture slackens, his voice takes on a more relaxed tone. He looks
over at me from time to time, as though it were only natural that I
would be listening to him. And to Luke.
I know there will be no grand revelations tonight; just grand
memories that have long been waiting to be told, and heard, and
For once, tonight, Luke's father has stopped shaking inside.
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