Welcome To The Harem
This Hazy View Of Reality by Karen
Summary: 'Maybe you've known all along that I've needed you all my life.' See also A Rare Saturday Morning.
Title: _This Hazy View of Reality_
Author: Karen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rating: It's PG!
Keywords: Reyes. Doggett. Doggettfic.
Doggett! Doggett! Doggett!
Summary: 'Maybe you've known all along
that I've needed you all my life.'
Spoilers: Invocation, Empedocles
Disclaimer: Again, they (X-Filesian or
cartoony) are not mine. So, again, quit
lookin' at me like that, `kay?
Archive: All are more than welcome, just
please notify me...
Author's Note: A follow-up to _A Rare
Saturday Morning_; Reyes POV; heavily
influenced by current background stuff the
OS has given Monica...
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
-William Shakespeare, from Sonnet 30
A hazy view of reality gradually replaces an equally hazy view of a
inhabited by my dreams.
Sharp blue eyes are bracketed by prominent ears. An expectant half-
punctuates the hazy view of reality sitting before me.
"Mornin' after, huh?"
Eyes wide, hair awry and blouse buttons on the verge of becoming
sit up straight and immediately regret having done so. The hazy
reality begins to shift and float before me. I fall backwards to
what little equilibrium I have and close my eyes.
He chuckles at the groan that escapes from my stiff body and places a
hand on my knee. "Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you like that. Get
The cartoons are over."
"Mmm..." I groan again before I hold up my left wrist and squint at
In the morning. Yeah, right. Yesterday's cartoons were definitely
Eyes wide, hair still awry, and blouse buttons hurriedly becoming
I rise slowly and test the ground before me.
It's not ground.
It's hardwood floor; the kind that creaks comfortingly. The kind
you know you're in a home, and not a house.
A lilt of amusement trickles through the rumble of thunder that is
voice. I can feel his intense stare raking over me.
Hair awry, blouse buttons securely fastened, eyes wide and puffy...
"The last thing I remember..." I begin to mumble into the obstinate
my hair. "...is--"
"Droolin' on my shoulder?"
Eyes wide, face flushed with mortification, I turn on my heels and
him almost incredulously. "I do _not_ drool, John."
He gives me a half-shrug and turns to his dresser drawer. It's
like an antique. Wonder if it creaks comfortingly like a home, too...
"Fine. Believe what you want. You always do," he chuckles under his
breath, not caring whether I hear him or not.
Drool it was not--I swear. It was something else. Something
different, something I'd much rather not get into right now,
He looks good like this.
Calm. Relaxed. Amused.
I amuse him.
I'm glad I do.
I clear my throat and run a fretful hand through my messy mane of jet-
hair... Time to re-dye, I think. "You didn't try to wake me up..."
"I tried a coupla times, but you were out cold," he replies
he rummages through his clothes. "Musta been somethin' in that fried
we ordered last night."
"Just tired." I was not tired. I was...
"I said, I was tired." No, that was not it at all...
"Yeah, I can imagine."
I stand in the middle of his bedroom and simply watch him. His faded
Marines T-shirt does little to conceal the way his back muscles flex
move beneath his skin. I suppress a sigh and turn away, trying to
I think they call those back muscles 'obliques'....
"There's food downstairs for you."
"Thanks. Thank you."
"Yeah?" his voice is harsh and slightly muffled, as though he were
--take his shirt off.
Eyes wide, hair awry, hands clenched into fists to keep myself from
for him, I nod slightly and attempt to finish off what I had to
are you doing?"
That was not what I had to say.
His face emerges from the collar of a white T-shirt. He furrows his
eyebrows and squints at me in the brightness of his sunlit
changin'. The hell does it look like I'm doin'?"
His expression relaxes and he widens his eyes in his attempt to
"You were sleepin' in here last night. I didn't want to wake you."
"You fell asleep. I think, somewhere in between Daffy Duck and..."
his head and crumples the Marines T-shirt in his large hands. "... I
dunno," he looks up and transfixes me with an embarrassed
smile. "that big
rooster that talks real funny."
"Huh?" He looks over his shoulder right before he tosses the shirt
"Leghorn. Foghorn Leghorn--the rooster that talks funny."
He nods and tries vainly to keep the corners of his mouth from
upwards. "Yeah--that's him."
Despite the seeming lightness between us, I catch that brief surge of
sadness flash through his eyes.
He's doing this for my sake.
This affectation, this illusion.
We're both doing this for our own sakes, aren't we? This
He juts out his chin for a nanosecond to indicate that he's
keeps his face averted from mine.
"Are you okay?"
"`Course." A few steps towards the door and he's able to escape my
scrutiny. "Like I said earlier, there's breakfast for you
Monica. Come on down."
He shuts the door quietly, and leaves me standing on the hardwood
Eyes wide, hair awry...
By the time I make it downstairs, he's nowhere to be found.
A rude host, yes, but he's got his reasons.
'Mornin' after, huh?' His deep voice echoes in my mind.
I know what he meant by that. What he means by that.
After that day that supposedly serves to remind him of who he is.
Who he is in his family's life.
Who he is in his son's.
Who he is when he looks at himself in the mirror every morning.
Who he is when he says he wants to change things. About himself.
Who he is--this supposedly special day reminds him every year--is a
Was a father.
Is a father.
Without a son.
Is a father with a son.
A son who no longer shares this day with him.
A special day, they call it. But for whom? And why only for those
Those untouched by things no one can understand, no one can explain,
is willing to be accountable for?
And things are still the same. Just the way he left them last
the way they've been for the last four years.
These thoughts crowd my mind as I fuss with the coffee he prepared
Strong coffee, for sure.
Strong enough to kill you, if you were still alive and willing to
The tattoo of water beating incessantly against a hard surface
senses and pulls me towards the living room window.
Washing his truck.
If only all things were that easy, John.
That easy. If only.
Wash everything clean--wash yourself clean, and let the sun dry you
Bake you into a brand new person, maybe.
I step away from the window and walk back to the kitchen, to where
out a decent breakfast for me.
Decent is an understatement; this man can run a bed and breakfast and
wash at the same time, and still be willing to work for the FBI, 24-7.
But why stay with the FBI, John?
You'll only hurt even more.
You'll only kill yourself, if you weren't dead already.
A bucket crashes against the asphalt. His frustrated string of
incoherent--and most probably vulgar--words follow the crash of the
and accompany the tattoo of the water beating rapidly against the
Eyes wide, hair no longer awry, I saunter over to the hallway and
light jacket from the open coat closet. Awkwardly draping it over my
shoulders, I step outside without thinking and stare at him. "Do you
He looks up from the fallen bucket and wrings the washcloth in his
"No. I got it."
His anger, I know, is not directed at me. But it makes me think
coming closer to him any more than I have to. "John--"
"It's nothin'. Same damn thing every time. Always my stupid fault
"You don't have to wash the truck today."
Like hell I don't, his stare growls back at me with a vengeance that
kill even that frighteningly-coiffed woman, Medusa.
"Don't you gotta be somewhere, Monica?"
I nod, and with a smile, study the cement before my feet. I was
that. The Big Brush-off. He was a pro at that, and he still is.
"I was going to help you clean the house." He arches an eyebrow when
this, and simply looks at me with a blank expression on his
list--" I jerk a thumb over my shoulder in an attempt to indicate the
he told me he had put on his refrigerator--but later crumpled up--
"You said you had a list that was stuck upside down on your
John. You said you were thinking of cleaning the house...? I
could use the extra hand. Maybe to--"
Understanding dawns on him, and he relaxes his grip on the washcloth
he nods curtly and tips the bucket upright with his toe.
Reports/Paperwork for Scully.
He knows what I'm talking about.
"It's okay. You can go."
"I was just havin' a bad day yesterday. It's alright, Monica--you
"I really don't have anything until Monday, John, I told you that. I
"Those things I had... They can wait. Really--it's okay."
His continued insistence begins to gnaw at my attempts to maintain my
cheerful resolve. "John, will you stop this?"
He sighs, rolls his eyes slightly and looks incredulously at
me. "I'm not
"Yes, you are."
"God, not this again, alright?" He demonstrates his irritation by
forcefully throwing the washcloth into the empty bucket in front of
"I've had it. With this, with everything," he mumbles before he
back and walks around the truck purposefully. "I've just about had
"It's okay to miss him, John. It's okay--"
"Monica, don't. Why do you always do this--"
"--to remember him, to want him back. There's absolutely nothing
He stops in mid-sentence and holds my gaze for what seems like an
I widen my eyes expectantly, but nothing follows his brief utterance.
"Nothin'," he snaps in a low voice before he hunkers down on his
disappears from view.
I walk around the truck and study him.
"Are you hoping to blind yourself and everyone else with those
He looks up and glares at me before he returns to the unnecessary
polishing the immaculately shiny hubcaps of his pickup. "Why don't
leave it alone for a while, huh? Look, Monica... I really
spendin' time with me yesterday, but I'm not great company right now,
alright? Just... These things on my mind. I gotta sort through
myself--you know that."
"You want to know something?"
I can hear his sigh of resignation even before he replies. "Go ahead
A leap of faith.
I take a deep breath and mentally remind myself that this is John I'm
talking to. The same man whose son I helped find. The same man who
it a point to look me in the eye. The same man who never can lie to
matter how much the truth hurts for both of us.
"I always imagined that my father would be someone like you." The
out even before I'm aware that I'm articulating them.
"My father. I always wanted him to be someone like you. That's how
always pictured him."
"Am I supposed to understand any of this?"
"And what do you mean your father bein' like me? He's your father,
should know if he's like me or not."
"My real father. My biological father, John."
That gets his attention. He stops polishing and looks up at me
"Your... biological father? You mean, you're--"
"--not a Senorita? No, John, I'm not," I take a deep breath and look
directly at him. "My parents adopted me and took me to live with
"Reyes." His soft whisper is audible even in the open air around us.
"I'm Texan, really," I add sheepishly for no reason at all. I feel
shifting my weight from one foot to the other. Discomfort, I know,
situation in which I've managed to trap myself.
He nods and slowly gets up from the ground. We're mere inches apart;
miscalculated the space between us when I walked around the truck to
some sense into him. "Texan, huh?" A sparkle of something I can only
is genuine interest shines through his crystal blue eyes. I'm forced
look away and depend on the morning breeze to help me breathe.
"One of the few things you don't know about me."
"Yeah, I guess so." He squints in the sun and looks away for a
before he bows his head and regards me from under his eyebrows. "You
knew your biological parents?"
I shake my head. "Never."
"Have you looked for them?"
I nod stiffly. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all...
"No." It's my turn to look away. I study the tailgate of the
note the mats he's laid out to dry in the sun. "Nothing. I..." I
rapidly, not to keep tears from streaming down my face, but to keep
from forming in that place that tells your eyes they're about to be
by something... Something painful. "Don't think I'll ever know
they are. What neck of the Lone Star state they prowl."
John maintains eye contact with me, but I can see him rubbing his
anxiously against his jeans. Maybe I've made him uncomfortable.
I'm trying to do is make things worse for him. Maybe I don't even
exactly it is I'm trying to do.
His left hand abruptly moves up the sleeve of the jacket I'm wearing
rests gently on my shoulder. "You never know. I wouldn't give up on
Mon, you can still find them."
But what if they don't want me to find them?
The question remains unasked, and it burns the tip of my tongue as it
John notices the change in my face, and he quickly adapts to
discomfort at being left bare and emotionally naked beside his shiny
truck and its equally shiny hubcaps. "D'you have breakfast yet?"
"Um," I clear my throat and nod slightly as I smoothly extricate
his grip. "Yeah. It was terrific, John. Thank you."
I can hear him rustling and shuffling behind me. The sounds of
and lids being closed, and the hose being abruptly shut off accompany
sound of his shoes brusquely scuffing the asphalt.
"You're finished with the truck?"
He looks up and tilts his head to the side. "I don't have to wash
"Give me a minute. You can help me clean the house. Then we can..."
pauses and allows a few seconds to pass in silence as he busies
fixing the hose. "Have lunch. I'm buyin'."
"John--" You don't have to do this, you know...
"Monica, can I ask you somethin'?"
I simply look at him.
"What you said earlier... What you were sayin'--tryin' to say..." he
under his breath and allows his blue eyes to bore into mine. "About
About your real father--"
"I said I've always wanted him to be just like you, John."
I square my shoulders and momentarily forget who he is, and what he's
through right now--this Morning After Father's Day. "Because you
up on Luke, even after you had to give him up."
A wave of Something washes over his face, and he exhales
though he had been holding his breath all this time. "Can I tell you
"Go ahead and tell me."
Eyes closed, head bowed and hands on hips, he begins by shaking his
"It's gettin' harder and harder to forget him. Harder and harder
remember him, you know? Like every night. I go to sleep and forget
gone. And every morning. Every morning I wake up and think he'll be
downstairs watching those damn cartoons, Monica. Sometimes..." he
face to the side, as if ashamed of what he is about to
say. "Sometimes I
feel like I hate him so much... God, I *hate* him so much sometimes."
"Because he left you?"
"Because he'll _never_ leave me. I'm gonna carry this, Mon. To my
day, I'm gonna carry this. That I let him down. That I love him so
That I didn't have him for long. That most of what I have of him
gone, too. And no one will care. Just me. Me and my ex-wife. And
worth a whole lot more than that. I mean... He's my kid." He
stares at me with an unfathomable expression that paradoxically
much meaning in its sheer impenetrability. "He's my kid, Monica.
his Dad; I'm his Father." He turns away immediately and self-
clears his throat before busies himself by arranging the mats in the
Those words. Spoken with pride. Spoken with honour.
He is those things to his son, who is worth a whole lot more than
becoming a memory that will slip away with time.
I would give anything to bring him back to you, John.
I would give anything to see you.
With your child.
You belong together.
I always imagined that my father would be someone like you.
My father. I always wanted him to be someone like you. That's how I
Maybe that's why I'm here.
Maybe that's why you're here.
Maybe that's why I'm so drawn to you.
Maybe that's why you let me in.
Maybe that's why you let me scale these god-forsaken walls you've
Maybe you've known all along that I've needed you all my life.
You, or someone just like you.
Happy Father's Day, John.
Happy Father's Day, Dad, or should I say, Happy Father's Day, Pa? I
know what I would have said to you, if I'd grown up with you in Texas.
As your daughter.
As your kid.
Your kid, who's worth a whole lot more than this. To be left alone
wondering. To be loved and raised by people she loves fiercely in
and at the same time, to be confused and hurt by your absence, your
'You know, I've always wondered... We've got orphans and we've got
But what about people who've lost their kids? People who've been
from their children--what do we call them?'
Out of the blue, John had asked me that question yesterday, while we
his couch watching cartoons, with our feet propped up on the heavy
table before us. He asked me that, out of the blue, right between
Duck and that rooster that talks funny. Right when I was about to
large tub of fried rice we ordered.
I didn't know the answer. I didn't want to answer. I still don't.
He thought I fell asleep. He thought I was drooling on his shoulder.
My tears were streaming down unbidden and uninvited and with a
that could drown even a former Marine.
And so came the pretension of drooling on his shoulder.
He'd been through enough. He was still going through too much.
He didn't need my blabbering sobs. He didn't need my problems, my
difficulties dealing with issues of abandonment, of parents who leave
kids, of kids whose parents leave them...
He needed my strength. My upbeat personality. My unshakable
My New Age frame of mind. My 'black sheep' tendencies.
So I pretended to fall asleep, right in the middle of cartoons and a
tub of take-out fried rice.
He had carried me to bed, upset with himself that he had
I had felt a caring hand on my high forehead and a chaste kiss on my
Never the kind of man to take advantage of vulnerability, this one...
I had felt like those people healed by miracle workers. Those
paralyzed people, who, because of their faith believe and are healed.
He left me--eyes clenched together and body wrapped warmly under the
covers--shortly afterwards, and went downstairs. He fell asleep
the television still on.
He left me alone, but I knew he didn't leave me. Never. Not in a
years. He would never do that to me.
He's the kind of man I imagine my father to be like.
You, or someone just like you.
He slams the door to the pickup shut and nods at me
Apparently, by the tone of his voice and the business-like expression
face, our discussion--our gut-spilling session--is over.
Things are back to the way they used to be. To the way they are.
To the way they're supposed to be.
An orphan. And a person whose identity cannot be fully articulated
Wrong, he had a child.
Yes and no. He is and was a father. Figure that one out.
"You think I'll ever find them?"
"Maybe you don't need to."
I stare at him, for he is quite possibly throwing me a life raft and
not be able to hang on to it. "What--"
"You're their kid. Nothing changes that. No matter what happens.
worth a whole lot more than just being found, Monica."
I swallow hard, unsure whether I want to hang on to that life raft or
whether to accept it and be grateful and move on or not. "I was
tell you that, too, John--about you. And Luke. You and your son."
"Yeah," he nods and looks right into me--my soul, it seems, is fully
comprehensible to him. "I know. Thanks."
"What?" he whispers softly, and affectionately tips my chin upwards
"Nothing--forget it," I whisper back shakily as I grasp his wrist
as though it could wither and die in my hand.
So alive. The persistent throbbing of his pulse against my
me feel like our bodies are ready to break down and become fused and
with each other at any given moment.
"Come on," he gently turns me around and leads me into his house with
on the small of my back. "No use to either of us just standin' here
doin' anything. We've got alotta Spring cleanin' to do, Mon. Throw
kinds of junk before it piles up and really gets in the way."
I look over my shoulder, back at him, and feel a smile slowly
creeping up to
You, or someone just like you, John.
This hazy view of reality.
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