Welcome To The Harem
A Faithful Companion by bugs
Summary: Deslea's rec: "As bugs herself puts it, as much as the conclusion to 4D was a realistic one, I'm a romantic at heart. So I was really pleased to find a post-ep that was sweet but not saccharine; heartfelt yet without pretence or excess. A nice Dripper read."
TITLE: A Faithful Companion (1/1)
ARCHIVE: Just let me know you've picked the story up. I'll do
CLASSIFICATION: DRR, A, a whiff of humor?
SPOILERS: "Audrey Pauley"
RATING: PG-13 -- Sexual situations and a few swear words.
SUMMARY: Doggett has a second chance after Reyes comes out of her
coma. Will he take it? And what pet will he choose?
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I really liked this episode and thought it was
very realistic how Doggett and Reyes sort of chickened out at the
end. But...I'm a romantic at heart.
St. John's Hospital
Scully went home but I stayed past visiting hours. My thumb
rubbed the back of Monica's hand, traversing the fine bones and
tendons again and again.
"You probably should go." Her voice was raspy.
I didn't look up. I said, "Yeah," but didn't make a move to
After another minute passed, Monica whispered, "Audrey's dead,
I had to meet her gaze. Tears floated on her lashes. "Yeah.
Preijers killed her too."
"Shit." She turned her head away.
I could only say, "Yeah."
The clock ticked on the wall. I chided myself, say something,
idiot. It doesn't matter what, just say it.
Finally, I choked out, "Monica?"
Her head snapped up. "Yes?"
The door banged open, slamming against the wall. A cloud of
expensive perfume rode into the room ahead of a formation of tiny
women, followed by lumbering, protesting nurses. The gaggle of
voices pushed me out of my seat, loosened Monica's hand from my
grasp and pressed me to the wall.
Her mother and aunts had arrived.
All the next day, Monica was trapped behind a barrier of female
relatives, elaborate exotic flower arrangements and overflowing
baskets of tropical fruit. From that day on, the scent of mango
meant Monica to me.
Her mother took my hand in her small, soft, bejeweled hands and
squeezed it ever so slightly as she inspected me from scuffed
shoes to bad haircut. "I've heard so much about you, John
Doggett." Her soft accent made my name Juan.
I couldn't help but look to Monica. She was trying to shake her
head subtly. The aunts all shifted their eyes away after
shy smiles at me.
They spent the second day stuffing me with delicious pastries as
they murmured appreciation. We washed fruit down with contraband
wine, and I felt as though the humidity had risen a hundred
percent in the cloying room.
They dragged Monica to her feet, saying she needed some exercise.
She loomed above her relatives, none of them over five feet tall,
even as they wavered on high heels. Her shoulders stooped and I
suddenly realized why she did that so much. I caught her eye and
straightened my shoulders. She mirrored my gesture with an
twist of her mouth.
I escaped, saying I'd go pick up some clothes for Monica's
eventual release. I also had an errand to run before she got out
of the hospital.
Her dark, cold apartment smelled of patchouli. I had a moment of
panic as I looked around the living room. I'd played out this
scene plenty of times on the job. The victim was dead, and I
needed to check their homes. I had to say to myself, again and
again, she's alive, as I noted the red sweater tossed over a
back and the novel, half read, face down on the coffee table.
I hurried to the bedroom. The bed was an expanse of white down.
A thin-strapped, slinky tank top lay at the foot. I ran a
fingertip across the fabric, then jumped back as though it was
wired. I was here with a purpose. Clothing. A suitcase. Some
I pulled open a drawer. Panties. I could do this, I could. I
poked among the underwear as though I was searching for important
evidence. Thongs...no, not good. I started frantically flipping
through. Surely she had some sensible cotton briefs--success.
Sweat beaded on my brow despite the chill. A bra, I needed to
find a bra. That drawer held many tiny scrapes of boning and
silk. I couldn't make heads or tails of them. I finally figured
out that they fastened in the back now. Last time I was undoing
bras, most were latched in the front.
I dropped to the end of the bed, a couple of bras trickling
through my fingers. Just how long had it been since I'd gotten
When I'd first been assigned to the X-files, I'd sought Scully's
constant company. I needed to see the swell of her belly and
later, smell the slight sour milk odor of babies. She was a
comforting, nurturing woman.
But the days around Monica were stirring another long neglected
need. It just wasn't something I could instigate. Monica did it
for us. When she moved into her new apartment, I'd gone over to
install a few shelves. She let me feel helpful and masculine
without losing any of her competence. Carpentry skills were
something wonderful in me, but not necessary for her to
She tried not to threaten my comfort level. A beer here and
after work. Her arm tucked in mine as we walked back to our
Her head leaning in close as she said something in my ear. She
was chipping away, trying to find the cracks.
I'd called her Friday morning, asking for a lift so my truck
be serviced. An hour before knocking off, she'd suggested we
at The Headless Woman's Pub on the way home. This is what law
enforcement officers do, I told myself. They unwind with their
We'd lingered over our drinks, waiting out a sudden rain
She'd been caught in the deluge and had refused my coat with a
laugh. Her hair frizzed slightly from its harsh straightening,
and an herbal odor wafted from the drying strands. That's one
thing I didn't find myself doing with male co-workers; breathing
in every time one passes.
She had twirled her glass and I tracked the lipstick stain on the
edge. I gulped down my beer's dregs and called her attention to
the dry streets.
She'd smiled and dug out a dollar to toss on the table. "Yeah,
better stop at one." Then she leaned over to say in my ear,
"Wouldn't want to do anything stupid."
I jumped up from her bed. I hadn't done anything stupid that
night. Of course, if I had, she wouldn't have gotten in the
wreck--I found a pair of jeans, a shirt, cleaned out her
and snatched up her leather coat on the way out the door. I had
to hurry before the ASPCA closed.
I'd developed a rapport with the nurses' station. They
me slamming Dr. Death's face into the wall before putting the
cuffs on much too tight for proper circulation. They looked the
other way when I crept in at ten and pretended not to notice the
bulge in my trench's pocket.
Monica seemed to be sleeping when I entered her room, but
She groaned. "Thank God. That's right. They've gone back to
"They seemed very nice." I pulled a chair to her bedside.
She rolled onto her side, tucking her hands under her cheek.
yes, they're wonderful."
We exchanged grins.
"I need some quiet, that's all," she said.
I started to rise. "I'll go."
She grabbed my hand, pulling me onto the bed. "No, you're very
I entwined our fingers. "I'm not sure if that's a compliment."
"It is." Her thumb ran up the crease of my palm and I worked
to suppress a shudder.
"John?" she murmured.
Our writhing hands fascinated me. "Yeah?"
"Is there something alive in your pocket?"
I hopped off the bed. "Oh, shit, yeah." Reaching in, I pulled
out my new pet, a slippery, lithe half-grown black kitten, and
dropped her onto Monica's stomach.
She frowned. "Not a puppy?" She actually looked hurt.
I protested, "I went to get a dog, I swear." The cat marched
along Monica's length; her neck elongated to peer at this
light or that beeping monitor.
Monica nipped the tip of the kitten's tail, tugging just hard
enough to earn an indignant glance over a narrow shoulder.
"I was walkin' past the cats to the dogs, when somethin' caught
my pant leg. When I looked down, there was Spooky's paw, holdin'
"Blackie?" Monica shook her head to show her displeasure with
that choice. I caught the cat before she leapt to the top of the
wardrobe. She struggled for a moment, then went limp, huge
eyes blinking smugly at Monica.
Monica rested back on the pillow. "Oh, John, you're just a
for a pretty face."
I held Spooky up to inspect her angular features. "I'd say she's
got an interesting face. Besides, I'll start easy here, and work
my way up to the Labrador Retriever."
She didn't answer. I glanced over. Her eyelids had drifted
almost closed. Her limbs were askew and lax, making her seem too
vulnerable. I didn't want to leave her in this dark, odd
hospital. I plopped back down in the chair, cuddling Spooky
She mumbled, "Go home, John."
Her hand reached out, fumbling, and I grabbed it. Spooky began
gnaw on my shirt cuff button.
"You need some rest," she said.
"I haven't been goin' to work. I'm plenty rested."
"I know you've been sleeping in the hall. My aunts saw you."
"But I slept--"
"John, take your cat and go home." She struggled up on her
elbows. "I'm fine. No one's going to steal my liver as I
She answered the lure of Spooky's smooth head, rubbing it until
the kitten purred. "Besides, I need you coherent for the drive
home--" She laughed at my wide, grateful grin. "And my vehicle
I got up. "Okay, okay." Tucking Spooky in my pocket, I was
suddenly awkward. The voice came back: kiss her, you idiot. Do
I snatched up her hand and squeezed it tightly. Her lips pressed
together as though she was holding in a smile. I met her knowing
eyes, and suddenly realized what Audrey must have told her.
Disgraced, I fled.
The morning checkout turned into afternoon. She called, telling
me not to hurry. When I got there, she and Dana were deep in
conversation. Dana couldn't look me square in the eye and I was
reminded of a hard fact. It's never good for a man to walk in on
Stiff, Monica said to Dana, "So, yes, take some of these
There's too many for me."
Dana recited her line. "All right, thank you." She drifted from
Monica's bedside and began inspecting her choices.
Already dressed, Monica sat on the bed's edge and couldn't meet
gaze either. Staring at my knees, she said, "Did you bring
Scully's head shot up. "What?"
Monica rustled through the bag of her possessions from the
emergency room, finding her rings. My throat tightened as I
watched her slip one after the other back on. She said, "John
"A cat?" Dana's brow furrowed. "I always saw you as a dog
Exasperated, I said, "Are you ready?"
Dana jumped in. "I can give her a ride. That's why I came by."
They exchanged conspiratorial looks.
"Don't you have a class to teach?"
"Uh, I can take the day off."
"I'm here." I started gathering up bouquets and baskets, ending
In the car, I leaned over to fasten Monica's seatbelt. She
breathed in my ear, "I can do that."
"I want to make sure it's tight."
As I pulled out into traffic, she closed her eyes. Her white
knuckled grip on the armrests made me ask, "You okay?"
"Yes, it's just going to be hard the first couple of times."
"I won't let anything happen," I assured her.
She looked at me. "John, sometimes shit happens."
I opened my mouth to fight that statement and then closed it.
just didn't understand. I had to feel like it had been worth
getting up that day. The voice started lecturing me: if you'd
even an ounce of steel in your ball sac, and had taken that open
invitation in her eyes, had asked her in, made love to her, hell,
maybe only made it as far as the hallway...loose from that beer
two, skin warm to the touch, the smell of her leather jacket, the
smoothness of her cheek under your lips, pressed her into the
until she cried out--
"John, we're at your place, not mine."
I turned the engine off. "Why don't you come in and see Spooky?"
She licked her lips. "Okay."
My legs shook as I walked around to open the door for her. The
edge of the diving board loomed before me, and I'd already balked
Inside, Spooky rushed from behind the couch, attacking my ankle
with vicious intent before flopping over and offering her belly.
Monica asked, "Is she doing all right in here, alone?"
"I got her all these toys. I'm thinking about making her one of
those carpeted jungle gym things."
"That sounds good." Monica slipped out of her coat, dropped her
bag in a chair, and slid to the floor by the couch. She tapped
her fingers on the floor, inviting the kitten's next foray.
For some reason, I find myself worrying at the old conflict.
"See, if I had a dog, he'd want to go for a walk right now. All
wanna do is kick my shoes off and hit the sofa."
She tipped her head back and suggested, "Then why don't you?"
I squeaked, "Okay," but only shucked my coat.
Spooky's smooth skull butted under Monica's chin. She smiled in
response to the sensual slide of hair and muscle. Her thumb slid
down the kitten's throat. "Maybe a cat was the best choice."
I got down on the floor with them and leaned in to scratch the
cat's belly. Our eyes met and the insisting voice turned to a
drill sergeant's demand: If you don't kiss her this instant, I'm
gonna kick your ass.
I went as slow as I could, giving her plenty of time to stop me.
She stayed still, watching my head approach, then focused on my
mouth. Her tongue wet her parted lips and she tilted her face to
accept my angle. I grabbed her chin, holding our mouths together,
just in case I had any ideas of escape. Her fingers furrowed
through my too short nape hair, trying to find purchase, and I
shivered like Spooky.
Tugging, I got her blouse loose, and managed to get a button or
two undone. I found a breast with one fumbling hand and came up
with Spooky's head in the other. Oddly, it made a good match as
the cat pushed against my caress and Monica leaned into my palm.
Our sighs countered Spooky's loud, rusty purr. Monica yanked my
teeshirt free and pulled me nearer. She began her own purr as
cat rubbed on her bare stomach. I shuffled forward on my knees,
directing her long legs to wrap around my back. Spooky's
claws tore at my wrist when I ignored her to scramble at Monica's
bra. I blanked and couldn't remember back or front. She giggled
into my mouth. Our kiss deepened and Spooky cried out in protest
as my weight settled, crushing her between our bodies.
Monica pushed me to arm's length. She was shaking. Pulling a
throw from the couch back, I draped it around her shoulders.
"Jeez, Monica, I'm sorry. What the fuck am I doing?" I noticed
my fly somehow had gotten halfway down and yanked it up,
She insisted, "I'm still weak, that's all, John." Her touch
dragged up my ribcage, leaving a trail of goosebumps, before
slowly straightening my shirt. "The spirit is willing, but the
flesh is weak, fuck it." Lolling her head over onto the couch
cushion, she pulled the throw up around her face. "I'm sorry,
"Sorry? For what?" I suddenly saw a 'I like you as a friend',
Tracing my jaw with a chilly fingertip, she said, "I'm sorry. I
really, really want to keep going, but--"
In relief, I teased, "Really, really?"
Her caress turned to a light slap. She murmured, "Really,
really. But I've--we've waited a long time. I plan on being
fully conscious and an eager participant when our time comes."
The images that statement conjured paralyzed me.
She stood and wobbled for her balance. I jumped up, giving a
steadying grip under her elbow. She buttoned her shirt and
smoothed the blouse's tails outside her pants. Hair shielding
red-cheeked face, she seemed suddenly shy as she collected her
coat and bag. I winced. Shit. I hadn't responded to her
admission and now it was too late. I'd almost jumped but
had rushed back to the diving board's stairs.
We both started when her cell rang. She frantically dug it out
from the depths of her purse.
"Hello? Oh, hi, Dana." Monica turned her back to me. "No, I'm
at John's. We stopped here on the way home--it's sort of on the
way to my place," she protested. She pushed her hair back behind
her ear like a little girl.
I picked up Spooky and rubbed between her thin shoulder blades.
She seemed to like that. Monica cast me a guilty look as Dana's
voice squawked from the phone.
"Well, I'm going home right now. I'll get plenty of rest, I
promise." Monica clicked the End button and gave me a quick
smile. "Doctor's orders."
I nodded. I had to say something. Holding up the cat, I
suggested, "Maybe you'd like to come over this weekend and play
with Spooky? I mean, if you don't have any other plans."
Her brittle, "Sure, John," was somehow worse than 'let's be
She said nothing as I drove back into the city. The silence
between us expanded like a gas, filling the car's interior with a
pressure. The further we got from my house, the longer the
voice's new lament went on: love isn't enough and you know it,
John. Loving her is the easy part. Doing right by her is the
hard part. You're going to have to give...and the hard part,
I saw her building coming up on the right and my gratitude was
pathetic. I got out, went around the car, and opened her door.
She slowly slipped from her seat. Now the pressure was in my
skull, pushing out all rational thought, leaving strange,
emotional responses: kiss her again. Run. Yell at her. Cry.
I finally said, "Goodnight."
Her gaze held an acceptance that shamed me. "Goodnight."
She mounted the stairs and spared me only one backward glance.
The voice turned into a cacophony of accusations and lectures as
drove towards home. I flipped the radio on, volume high,
attempting to drown them out. I almost ran a red light and
slammed on the brakes. A thump came from the passenger's side.
Peering into the dark space, I made out Monica's purse. And her
suitcase was in the back. She'd forgotten them.
I could return them in the morning. But a woman always needs her
purse. There's...stuff...in it.
A beeping horn jarred me. The light was green. I drove through
the light, then turned right at the next corner, heading back
towards her apartment.
Now the voice said, relief obvious, that's a good Doggett.
Another silly trifle. More at: www.underthewing.com/bugs