Welcome To The Harem

Trouble Me With You by Rachel Anton Part 1 of 2
Summary: Deslea's rec: "Marita/Doggett romance. No-one else would try this. No-one else would dare. No-one else could do it like Rachel A." See also prequel Shadow Wife.

Title: Trouble Me With You (1/2)

Author: Rachel Anton

E-Mail: RAnton1013@aol.com

Rating: R

Category: S, A

Keywords: Doggett/Marita, post-ep for The Gift

Note: This is a sequel to "Shadow Wife" which can
be found here:
http://members.aol.com/ranton1013/Shadow.html
You should probably read that before this.

Spoilers: The Gift

Archive: Sure

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, but I think I
should.

Summary: He's longed for her in a very peculiar
way, and that longing is just another mystery he
can't seem to solve. She's another question, and
there are no answers in sight.

Thanks to Laura and Cynthia- the best damn support
group/beta readers/inspirations around.

xxxxxx

He's not a particularly religious man, but he's always
assumed, almost as a matter of course, that he had a
soul. This isn't his first dangerous job. He's been
close to death quite a few times, and the idea that
something inside him would survive and move on
once his body left the world has been a comfort to
him. It's gotten him through. It's given him courage.

The idea that something of his son has remained, and
that someday they would be reunited has kept him
sane.

Tonight there is no comfort. There is no sanity. He
wonders if there will be courage or if that's been
taken from him, too.

He stands, naked from the waist up, facing himself in
a mirror attached to his bedroom wall. There is a
scar on his chest, just below his left shoulder. He
was stabbed there, back in New York. He runs his
fingers over it, baffled, but relieved by its continuing
presence.

Then his hand travels down to a place where a scar
should be, but isn't. It's been less than forty-eight
hours since he took the bullet. It went through his
back and shattered through his chest, and now there
is nothing. Just smooth skin, same as it was last
week. No evidence that anything happened to him at
all.

He's not sure if he'd feel better or worse to find out
the whole thing had been a vast hallucination. Would
he prefer to be a sane person in a crazy world or a
crazy person in a sane world? Did Mulder wonder
the same thing, or was he so enamored with his
ideas that they seemed completely sane to him?

John doesn't know, and he's tired of trying to think
like Mulder, trying to be like Mulder. Whatever
Skinner might think, there's no use in it. It's not
getting him anywhere but dead. Nearly.

Still, the man continues to haunt him, to flit in and
out of his consciousness like a song title he can
almost remember, but not quite. Something he
begins to get a handle on, but as soon as he thinks
he understands, it slips through his mind like sand
through his fingers. Frustrating, to say the least.

And Scully. She haunts him too, even when she's
there, in the same room. Everywhere he looks he
sees her haunted, haggard eyes, always asking him
the same question: Why can't you find him? He
knows she doesn't expect him to, but he feels her
accusation weighing on him almost constantly. He
feels the weight of his uselessness when he looks at
her eyes.

"Why can't you?" he asks himself, looking into his
own eyes, hoping to spot evidence of a remaining
soul.

"Why can't you what?"

The voice comes from the darkness, the shadows of
his bedroom unlit by the single lamp on the dresser
beside him. He isn't disturbed, or even surprised by
it. He thought he smelled her perfume as soon as he
walked through his front door. He had a feeling
she'd been here, and he'd hoped she still was, but
now he is annoyed.

"I have a doorbell, you know. Ringing it is probably
a lot easier than breaking in and sneaking around in
the dark."

She glides into the light behind him, and he glances
at her reflection. She looks different than last time.
Her hair is restrained on top of her head- some kind
of librarian bun, and she's wearing a suit. It's purple.
She looks more like herself, he realizes, even though
he's only seen her that one other time. This is how
she usually looks. She's still beautiful, but he doesn't
like it.

"How are you, John?"

"I'm fine. What are you doing here?"

"I heard about the case."

"Still spying on me, then?"

His irritation is growing with every word from her
mouth. A mouth he's dreamt of kissing more than
once since the first and last time he saw her almost
two months ago. Another face that's haunted him.
He's longed for her in a very peculiar way, and that
longing is just another mystery he can't seem to
solve. She's another question, and there are no
answers in sight. Tonight, even more than usual, he
isn't up for the subterfuge or the games.

"What do you want, Marita?"

"I just...wanted to make sure you were all right."

He catches her eyes in the mirror and looks at them
for a long time. He sees a genuine concern, and it
confuses him even further.

"You know what happened?"

"Yes."

Of course. She knows "everything". Maybe she can
explain it to him.

He turns around to face her, half expecting her to
disappear like another strange vision, but she is real
and she is here.

"Why do you think they call it a soul-eater, Marita?"

"Excuse me?"

"I mean...how can a person be...eaten, eaten whole,
and come back out completely intact? Don't you
think you'd lose something?"

He sighs, frustrated by his simultaneous need and
inability to discuss this. There is no definitive
explanation for what happened, and he knows she
can't answer his questions. He can't even figure out a
way to ask them. He sounds crazy and stupid, but
she is here and she's the only person he could ever
tell.

"Do you think we even have a soul, Marita?
Because...I don't understand how it would find its
way back."

"John? Are you sure you're all right?"

He moves away from her and sits on his bed, runs
his hands over his face. He wonders if he is all right.
Physically, yes. He is better then he's been in quite
some time. But in every other way, he's not so sure.

"Is that what you think happened to Mrs.
Hangemuhl?" she asks him "You believe that she
was...eaten?" He remembers believing that right
from the start, almost without question. Now he has
a reason, but before he really didn't. He doesn't want
to think about that.

She sits down next to him, but not very close.
Maybe she can tell that he's losing his mind.

"John, spontaneous healing has been known to
occur. It's possible something else caused her
recovery."

He doesn't understand why she's even thinking about
Mrs. Hangemuhl.

"Maybe so, but I've never heard of anybody
spontaneously rising from the dead."

"Rising from the dead? John, what are you talking
about?"

"You don't know."

God, she doesn't know. And now he's going to have
to explain it to her. How can she know everything
else and not know this? It makes him angry. If she'd
known, he would have been sure it was real.

"Don't know what?"

"Why don't you tell me what you do know."

"I know about the couple you went to see. I know
what happened when Mulder was there. I...assumed
that you'd be upset about not being any closer to
finding him."

He looks down at his lap. His hands are clenched at
his knees, clutching the fabric of his pajama pants.
He forces himself to release and wipes the sweat
from his palms.

"I saw him. I saw what Mulder saw."

"What did Mulder see?"

"A man with a power, a power that was destroying
him, turning him into a walking sickness. I- I tried to
take him out of there, to get him away from those
people. They were using him. They were treating
him like some kinda machine. And they...they
weren't prepared to let him go. Somebody shot me.
In the back."

He lets out a deep breath, relieved at having gotten
at least some of it out. But that was the easy part.

"John? You mean at your back."

Please, he thinks, please don't argue with me. He
can't have this argument. He has become Mulder,
telling a crazy story to a person who doesn't believe.
The difference is John barely believes it himself. He
is Mulder without the convictions. Maybe he is
Scully.

"Somebody shot me. In the back. It went straight
through, and I was dead."

"John..."

"I was dead."

"But, John..."

"I was dead. I woke up, in that...that cavern or
whatever the hell it was, and he was dead. From me.
He took my death."

"You say woke up..."

"You don't understand. I was DEAD. Not
unconscious. Not sleeping. Dead."

If she makes him say it again, he might strangle her.

"And you honestly believe this is what happened?
That this creature could do what they said he
could?"

"I don't have any choice but to believe it."

He looks at her face finally, expecting to see fear or
ridicule or shock, but she is smiling. She's actually
smiling. It's an enigmatic smile, a weird smile, a
creepy smile.

"John, having experienced this, how do you feel
about the work Agent Mulder was doing on the
X-Files?"

"I could see him. I...I felt him there with me. I can't
explain it."

Her smile grows and she covers his hand with her
own. He feels suddenly like a dog who's learned a
new trick. He waits for her to pet his head and give
him a snack.

"I don't understand why anybody would seek this
kinda thing out willingly, though. I think that he was
doing what he thought was right, and that he
honestly cared about these people, but I'm still
confused about a lot of it."

"And how do you feel about him as a man?"

"He's a good man, with a good heart. He could have
been cured, but he sacrificed his own happiness to
save another person from suffering. But...he must be
crazy. I think he must be insane."

Insane to seek this out and even more insane for
having found it. What must he have thought about,
alone at night? Did the questions follow him home?
Was he consumed with these mysteries every second
of his life? Did he ask Scully what she thought about
souls or did he keep it all to himself?

She loves him. He must have loved her.

Marita squeezes his hand, and asks him, "Are you
going to be all right?"

"I just don't understand how I can be the same."

"But you are the same. You have the same feelings,
the same memories, same ambitions. Don't you?"

"But I don't understand how."

"Does it matter? You're alive, you're still you."

"You never really answered my question, Marita. Do
you think there's such a thing as a soul?"

"Yes," she answers, without thought. He wonders
how it can be so easy for her. She doesn't even have
to think about it. She was raised in Mississippi.
Maybe she's very religious, but he doubts that for
some reason.

"Do you think that it continues to exist after you
die?"

"Yes, I do believe that."

"Do you think that if you die, and get eaten, and
then come back to life, that your soul could
somehow find its way back to your body?"

She smiles again and he laughs at himself.

"I sound like a goddamn lunatic."

"No you don't, John. These are ideas you've never
had to consider before."

She was sure as hell right about that.

"When I was dead...there was just nothing. I dunno
how to explain it. I always thought that when I died,
my soul would go floating off somewhere and that
I'd be aware."

That he'd find Luke. That he'd be happy, at peace.
He knows men who've had near death experiences.
They talk about white lights and blissful feelings.
Why is he different?

"Perhaps you just don't have the memory."

"Maybe. I dunno."

"You didn't answer my question. Are you going to
be all right?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine."

She squeezes his hand again, and then lets it go.

"Well then, I should go."

She stands up and walks towards the door, and he
watches her numbly.

"I still don't understand why you're here."

She stops for a moment and looks back at him.

"I told you, I wanted to make sure you were okay.
Now, I need to go. Good night."

And then she's gone, out into the darkness of the
hallway. He hears her heels clicking on the floor and
down the stairs, and he sits on his bed wondering if
he should go after her. He doesn't quite have the
energy, and he has a feeling it's a bad idea anyway,
but once again she's gotten him hooked. He wants
her to stay.

Before he can talk himself out of it he is halfway
down the stairs, and he sees her hovering near his
front door.

"What are you doing, Marita?" he calls to her. "Why
are you doing this?"

"Doing what?"

"Any of this. I don't...I don't get you. Why do you
come here to find out if I'm okay when you could
have found that out without even talking to me?
And why do you even care if I'm all right or not?
And if you do care, why are you leaving now?"

Her mouth opens and closes like a fish. Her hand
hovers over the doorknob, and she won't look at
him. He doesn't know why he cares either. He
enjoyed making love to her last time. Enjoyed the
hell out of it, and he wants to do it again, but sex
isn't worth this aggravation. There must be
something more. He doesn't want there to be
something more.

"I need to go, John. I shouldn't be here at all."

"But you are here! And I don't understand why if..."

He stops himself, realizing that he's yelling and
there's really no reason to yell. He's sure as hell not
gonna beg her.

"I have to leave," she tells him yet again.

"Yeah, I got that. That's fine. I guess I'll just add you
to the list."

She stops moving, and her whole body seems to
stiffen.

"What list is that?"

"The list of things in my life that don't make any
fucking sense."

His legs are shaking, and he has to sit down. He
doesn't want to collapse in front of her. It's so
pathetic. But he can't stand to hold himself up
anymore.

He sits on the steps and covers his face with his
hands, praying for her to just leave now.

"John?"

She hasn't left. She's right in front of him, kneeling
down to examine him like a freaking doctor. Like
he's falling apart.

He waves his hand in front of his face, trying to shoo
her away.

"I'm fine."

"Yes, yes you are. I knew you would be."

She puts her hands on his knees. Touching him
again. Why is she doing this to him? What does she
want?

"The things you've done in your career, John, in
your life, you've experienced things that would break
many people. I knew that you could do this, that you
were the perfect man for it. And you are, whether or
not you believe that."

He looks down into her eyes. They're big and wet
and beautiful and full of admiration.

"I don't even understand what 'this' is."

"You will, John. I told you. You're going to save the
world."

She's as delusional as Mulder. Or Scully. Or him. He
shakes his head.

"I can't even find one man."

"You will. And I will help you. I promise you."

He wants to shake her, to rattle her brain and make
all the information fall out so that he can look at it
and figure things out for himself. He's so tired of bits
and pieces, of threads and hints and shadows.

"John," she whispers, low and breathy. His eyes are
drawn to her full, moist lips. He remembers them on
his body, hot and hungry. "Tell me you want me to
leave. Tell me to stay out of your life. Tell me you
don't want to have anything to do with me."

"I can't do that."

Oh how he wishes he could. Things might be a lot
simpler if he could only say those things. At least in
this area of his life. Whatever area this was.

He asks her, "Is that what you want me to do?"

She shakes her head slowly, and licks her lips.

"What do you want me to do, Marita?"

"I...I want you to...to know that I never meant to
manipulate you in any way. That there are reasons I
can't give you everything you want."

He has a flash of Mulder in this same situation, but
he can't put the whole picture together. He can't
figure out how Mulder would react. He's not sure
why it matters, and he wonders if he's becoming
completely obsessed. He imagines himself wearing a
stupid bracelet with the letters WWMD on it. What
Would Mulder Do?

"How well did you know Agent Mulder?" he asks
her. She looks startled. He's glad. Maybe she'll think
he's still got some of his wits left, that he's not a
stupid, insecure man crumbling to pieces on a
staircase.

"What do you mean how well?"

"I mean, what was your relationship?"

"I was a contact."

"You gave him information. Like you've given me."

"Yes."

"Was he frustrated by it? Being given bits and
pieces, but never the whole truth? Or did he eat up
every scrap that you threw him like a salivating
dog?"

Did you sleep with him too, Marita?

The thought shouldn't bother him as much as it does.
He's not sure if it's jealousy or a need to keep a
distance, to assure himself he's not following directly
in Mulder's footsteps.

"I'm not sure how he felt about it. He seemed glad
for the help. I think he understood that it was
dangerous for me to tell him too much."

Thankfully there isn't a trace of accusation in her
voice. He doesn't think he could stand another
woman looking at him and wishing he were
somebody else.

"How do you feel about him? As a man?"

She tilts her head to the side, and looks at him
strangely. Which is fine, because he's feeling pretty
damn strange.

"Why on Earth would you ask me that?"

"I'm just...trying to understand you. Trying to
understand him."

"I respect him, and his work. He is a good man. But
I didn't know him very well. I didn't...care for him, if
that's what you're asking."

He nods and rises to his feet again, relatively
satisfied with at least that answer. She's still on her
knees, looking as confused as he feels.

"So, are you gonna leave or what?" he asks.

"I...I'm not....I should go, but..."

"I want you to stay, Marita," he stops her before she
can waver any more. "I don't know why, but I do.
What I don't want...what I don't have the energy for
right now, is to chase you around the house like a
jackass trying to convince you not to leave. So, I'm
going back upstairs. You can join me if you like, or
if not... you know the way out."

xxxxxx