I - Cast Off All Doubtful Care (December 16, 2005)
Cast off all doubtful care, exile and banish tears;
To joyful news divine lend us your listening ears...
"Hey, John," Special Agent Monica Reyes poked her head into the break room after catching sight of her partner John Doggett there, "I'm making those Christmas tamales this weekend. You never did tell me if you wanted chicken, pork, or beef."
Doggett just smiled at her. "Beef, the same as every year, Mon. But I won't be back 'til after New Years, so you'll just have to hang onto them for me."
"If you were anyone else, John, I’d be insulted - lucky for you, they'll keep until you get back." Monica quipped, before John's words sank completely in. "Wait - Barbara asked you to go away somewhere for Christmas, didn’t she?!"
John nodded, and Monica rushed to give him a hug - she was glad to see that his hopes of a reconciliation with his ex-wife were on solid ground. She'd been there with them both as the marriage fell apart after their son's murder in 1992, and it had hurt her deeply to watch it happen.
That, and the fact that she'd been the lead investigator on the case yet gotten nowhere with it, had a lot to do with why the feelings Monica had developed for John in the years since had never really crystallized. Now, though, little Luke's murderer had been caught and killed after years of waiting, and she'd found she was actually thrilled to see John and Barbara begin to finally rebuild their lives.
"You all right, Mon?" John asked her, mistaking her brief reverie for some sort of upset.
Monica nodded, smiling. "Just thinking how happy I am that you and Barbara are starting to work things out. I really hated seeing you two fall apart like you did."
If it had been anyone else, Doggett would never have believed them - he was all too aware of how awkward and painful the unspoken attraction he and Monica felt for each other could make things. It was pure Monica that she could stand there and be nothing but happy for him and Barbara despite everything, and was definitely one of the things he admired most about her.
Besides, he reminded himself with a slight smile, Monica's heart had apparently been claimed by someone else these days...
"You're going to be here to stay with Dana, right?" John asked, his voice going pensive despite his smile. "She really shouldn't be alone right now."
Monica just nodded, her face lighting up the way it always did when Dana Scully was mentioned. "I'm going to show her how to make tamales - maybe it'll take her mind off things for a while."
Dana - John's partner for about the space of a year before she transferred back to teaching at Quantico, and now a close friend to both John and Monica - seemed to be having an even rougher time of it than usual.
Of course, having her partner and lover, Fox Mulder, in hiding and out of reach while she tried her best to raise their miracle child alone made her holiday blues perfectly understandable - and that was the *least* complicated aspect of it all.
Monica and John were convinced that there was more to her sadness than Mulder's absence alone, but Dana kept them at an arm's length about a lot of things still, and it had just never felt right to ask her about it.
Monica, as if reading John's thoughts, sighed and murmured to herself. "I just wish she'd let me in, even a little..."
John, smiling wryly, put a hand in her shoulder. "I've told you before, Mon - if you like her, just tell her. I'm pretty good at reading people, and my guess is she likes you too - you should use your vacation next week to spend some time with her and see what happens."
Monica started to protest, but he just held up a hand. "Talk to Mulder first, if it makes you feel any better. After everything you've done for him and Dana, I don’t think he'd object too much."
Monica had, after all, been the one to ferry Dana into hiding when her as-yet-unborn baby had been threatened just as her due date arrived, and Monica had also played midwife when little William decided to make his appearance while they waited.
Dana, not quite sure how to express her gratitude for something so monumental, had settled for asking Monica to be William's godmother - which Monica still considered a great honor - and Mulder, devoted as he was to Dana and their son, was just as grateful, and hardly likely to refuse anything that would make Dana happier in his absence.
Monica gave John a doubtful look as she considered his advice - there was no way she'd want to share Dana if she were Mulder, grateful or not - but John's words still lingered even after they parted company several minutes later.
Sighing, Monica finally decided that nothing ventured really was nothing gained, and pulled out her cell phone. "Mulder? It's Monica Reyes. Can we talk about Dana for a minute?"