Disclaimer: One if by land, two if by sea, and I on the opposite shore shall be. Begging and pleading to make them my own, but alas tis not to be as the copyright has shown.

Rating: PG

Category: DR UST

Spoilers: Hmmm... none?

Author's notes: Trying to keep them to a minimum for once hehe. Uh, just a Thanksgiving story - no XF mystery here. Just food and football and snow (does anyone get the impression I love snow?).

Feedback thankfully received at traci_ann@yahoo.com



Food, Football, and Friends



"Ah, three days of nothing but football and food." John Doggett sighed contentedly as he propped his feet up on his desk, accidentally knocking off his FBI nameplate.

"Oh, yes, that sounds so... enthralling." Looking up only briefly from the computer screen, his partner, Monica Reyes, went back to her game.

"So what are you doing for Thanksgiving?"

"Sleeping."

Doggett laughed. "Really, Monica."

Eyes remaining glued to the computer screen, she replied, "Really. Not much else to do."

Her partner watched her in silence then walked over to her desk and sat on top of it. "Mon?"

"Uh-huh?"

Glancing at the screen, he laughed. "Go Fish?"

She swatted his arm. "I'll have you know it's highly challenging when you're playing against other people."

"Oh, I'm sure it is."

Sighing, she clicked out of the game, sat back, and gave him her full attention. "So what, Agent Doggett, brings you across the room?"

Suddenly he forgot. "I... uh..."

Monica grinned. "Really. My you are the conversationalist today aren't you?"

"Ha ha, very funny. Actually I was thinking that since neither of us really have anything to do for Thanksgiving if maybe you'd like to get together for dinner."

"And watch endless football games?"

"Well, there is a Buffy marathon on FX that day too you know."

"Wow, the options I have." She thought for a moment. "Who's cooking the turkey?"

He grinned. "Depends if you want it edible or not."

Rolling her eyes, she smiled. "Okay, here's the deal. If you get the turkey, I'll cook it. However, there is one small condition."

"Here it comes," he said, hopping off her desk.

"We have to watch the Duke game."

"That's a deal." He went back to his desk and grabbed his suit jacket. "What'dya say we start the holiday a little early?"

Retrieving her own coat, she grinned at him. Her brown eyes danced with laughter. "What rebels we are, John. Skipping out of work a whole half hour early."

"Yeah, well, you know me..."

Monica shook her head while locking their office door. "Yes, I do," she muttered quietly.

***************

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving found John and Monica among mobs of last-minute shoppers fighting over the last few frozen turkeys in the grocery stores. It also found them having to travel to many different stores in search of the basics of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

By Wednesday night, both Monica and John were wiped out. It was nearly midnight before she announced she was going to go home but would see him around seven the next morning. It was just after that he suggested she stay in his guest room so she could just go back to bed after preparing the turkey. It was just after midnight when she accepted.

**************

John yawned, stretched in his bed and was about to roll over when the smell of turkey assaulted his senses. Glancing at the clock, the numbers showed it to be six-thirty in the morning. A tinge of guilt flowed through him at the thought of him comfortable and warm while Monica was slaving away in his kitchen. Crawling out of bed, he quietly padded down to the kitchen and stood in the doorway watching her.

Scurrying between the sink and the counter, Monica kept pushing her dark, bed-hair out of her face while trying not to get flour all over her. John's t-shirt that she was wearing, on the other hand, was now a hopeless case. While making the stuffing, she tried to figure out a way to quietly sneak in his room and get another to sleep in. Yawning, she looked over a nearby cookbook.

"You know, the stuffing's supposed to go inside the turkey before you put it in the oven."

Monica nearly jumped through the ceiling. "JOHN! DON'T DO THAT TO ME!"

He laughed. "Sorry, couldn't help it." He walked over to her and wiped some flour from her cheek. "Cute look."

She stuck her tongue out at him. "Um, think you have another shirt I could borrow?"

Looking her over, he chuckled. "Yeah, I think I can find something." He looked around. "It smells great."

"Thanks. What are you doing up anyway?"

Doggett shrugged.

"Were you checking up on me? Making sure I didn't burn the house down?" she teased.

"No. I trust you." His eyes settled on the mess in the sink. "Um, I guess cleaning is my job today?"

Smiling, she nodded. "You got it, buster." Stifling a yawn, she grinned. "Do you think you could get me that other shirt now? I kinda want to go back to sleep for a little while."

His crystal blue eyes shined. "I suppose you deserve that." Placing his hands on her shoulders, he turned her around and pushed her up the stairs and into his room, where he found a shirt for her, then led her back to her room. "Now you sleep in as late as you want to. I've got everything else today."

"John," she began, without thinking, to remove the flour-covered shirt then quickly stopped realizing he was in the room. "You don't have to..."

"Not another word. You sleep, I'll finish up." He closed the door behind him, not leaving any room for her to argue.

************

It was close to eleven in the morning when Monica awoke again. Hearing John yelling at the refs on television, she grinned, climbed out of bed and went to his room to find a sweatshirt and sweatpants.

"You do realize they can't hear you, right?" she asked, sitting beside him on the couch.

"I thought you believed in telepathic abilities?" he teased. "Nice outfit. I could swear I have one just like it."

"Hmmm, you did. I kind of like it though."

He laughed and returned his attention back to the football game. Penn State was in the lead by four touchdowns with Pittsburgh not looking too great in only the second quarter.

"The Duke game is on at one," he told her. "There's a fresh pot of coffee in the kitchen if you'd like some."

Without a word, she started to get up, but John stopped her. "I'll get it. Two spoons of sugar and milk right?"

"Yeah. Thanks."

As he reached the counter in the kitchen, he turned back around. "By the way, it snowed last night. Looks like you might be stuck here again tonight. Sorry."

But she smiled. If she had to be snowed-in anywhere she'd rather it be with John. "It's okay. Just adds to the holiday." She turned back to the TV. "So why Penn State?"

"My kid sister went there," he told her. "Best football games to go to. The crowds are amazing!" He returned, handing her the coffee and sat beside her, a little closer than previously.

"Being a traitor to your school?"

"No. Georgia Tech will always be the best overall."

Monica nearly spat out her coffee.

"What? You knew I went there for a few years before joining the Marines."

She laughed. "It's not that. Um, Georgia Tech is who Duke is playing today."

"I know," he grinned. "Hmm, a little competition here, huh?"

"Nope, none at all. Duke's gonna cream them. Not a competition at all."

Doggett's eyes lit up. "Care to make a bet?"

"Depends."

"On?"

"The wager." She looked at him while sipping the coffee.

"Ah, yes. A wager. Let's see..." He looked around the room then shrugged. "Ya know, I can't come up with anything."

"I can. When Duke wins it's Starbuck's on you for a week."

He laughed. "When? Aren't you being a little optimistic? I know their record... not a good one this year. So, *when* Tech wins... you do the paperwork for me for a week."

"Paperwork? John, Starbucks versus paperwork is hardly a fair wager!"

"Ah, is there a hint of doubt?"

Monica leaned over close to him. "None at all," she whispered. Smiling to herself as he shivered, she sat back and continued to innocently drink her coffee. "I'd better check on the turkey." She got up. "What time did you want to eat?"

"Whatever works for you. We can always snack on the leftovers." Loud cheers from the TV drew his attention. "Yes! Take that Pitt!"

Shaking her head and laughing, Monica went to the kitchen to start the rest of the food.

"So why Duke?" he called out after her.

"Went there for a year. I transferred only because they didn't offer the program I wanted."

"Ah," was his reply.

***********

One o'clock found the partners sitting on the couch, Monica with a Corona and John with a Bud. His feet were up on the coffee table and she had hers tucked under her wrapped in a blanket.

"Ready to do paperwork for a week?" John teased.

"Nope, but am ready to watch you do it while I drink my Starbucks," she grinned.

At the kickoff, both settled back to watch.

Duke was the first to score a touchdown and Monica turned to John and grinned. "I prefer Venti Mochas with lots of sugar."

"It's only five minutes into the game, Mon, sheesh!"

"Hey, a touchdown is a touchdown."

"I'll show you a touchdown," he teased.

"Ooh, why John, are you threatening me?" she countered.

He looked at her and shook his head. "You're definitely something else."

The moment was broken by Georgia Tech scoring a touchdown on an eighty-seven yard pass.

"Don't count your Starbuck's till it's over."

Sipping her beer, she smiled.

At the start of half-time, Monica got up and went to the kitchen to get dinner ready. John followed.

"What are you doing?" she asked, looking at the turkey.

"Thought you might want some help."

"No way. Our agreement was I'd get dinner and you clean!"

He stood watching her as she pulled the turkey out of the oven. "I'll still hold up my end, but... well, there's nothing interesting at halftime and..."

Monica turned and grinned. He was stumbling for something to say and she was not going to push him for she suspected what his real reason was. He missed having someone to share Thanksgiving with. "Okay, then you can get the sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. I'll take care of the big stuff. Deal?"

"Deal." He walked to the stove and stirred the sweet potatoes. "You know, my mom used to mix marshmallows with these."

"Do you have any around?" she asked while removing the stuffing from the turkey.

"We don't have to. If you don't..."

"John, stop being so nice!" she laughed. "If you have some go ahead, it sounds delicious."

"Alright, if you insist." He found a bag of still relatively-fresh marshmallows and added them in before dishing it out into a serving bowl. "Halftime's almost over. Do you want a nice sit-down or eat in front of the tv?"

Washing her hands, Monica turned her head. "Are you saying you'd be willing to give up the big game for me? Or are you saying you don't want to watch your team lose?"

Joining her at the sink, he splashed a little water at her. "I'm merely trying to make this a nice Thanksgiving if it's what you'd like."

"And soaking me is the way to do that, how?" she giggled, splashing him right back.

"What are you complaining about? I'm the one with clean-up duty."

Monica walked over to him and wiped away some soapsuds from his sleeve. "I'd say on the couch is fine."

Their eyes met.

Both hearts stopped.

John opened his mouth but closed it without saying a word.

He took a step closer.

*Beep* *Beep*

"I... I'd better get the Stove-Top stuffing out of the microwave," stuttered Monica who was ready to throw the microwave out the window for bad timing.

"Yeah, you'd better."

The moment broken, both went back to their dinner duties.

**************

"I can't believe they lost."

"Believe it. And I do believe we made a small wager."

"Ugh."

"Oh no. You're not getting out of it. You made the wager as much as I did."

Monica sighed. "Do you have any idea how much I hate paperwork?"

Laughing, John nodded. "Yep. But hey, maybe if you're nice to me I'll still get you Starbuck's every morning. You're going to need it to get through all the back reports."

She glared at him. "Sixty-four to seven? How... How can a team lose that badly?"

"You saw it for yourself."

"I still don't believe it." She reached over to pick up his plate but he stopped her.

"What do you think you're doing?"

"Cleaning up."

"Uh-uh. That's my job. You sit here and relax. Contemplate the easiest way to get through the reports. Maybe you can pay someone to come in and type them up for you." He stood up with plates in hand.

"You're really enjoying this, aren't you?" she asked, looking up at him.

Grinning like a child, he nodded. "Yep. Not often I get to be right."

"Don't get too used to it." Her eyes twinkled and she picked up the remote.

"I won't. Trust me, I won't."

****************

An hour later, after the leftovers were packed in the refrigerator and the dishes and pans were cleaned, John returned to the living room to join Monica. He stood before her, watching her as she slept soundly on his couch with remote still in hand. "Thank you, Monica," he whispered taking the remote and laying it on the table. Gently he lifted her off the couch and carried her to the guestroom where he tucked her in. "This was the best Thanksgiving I've had in years." Placing a kiss on her cheek, he quietly shut the door and went back downstairs.

****************

It was nearing eleven at night when Monica padded downstairs and into the living room.

"Hey, sleepyhead," was John's greeting to her.

"Hey. Why didn't you wake me?" she asked, sitting beside him.

"You looked too peaceful."

She nodded. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to doze off on you."

"It's alright. You probably needed it. We've been running around a lot lately."

"I guess." Glancing at the television, she burst out laughing. "Spongebob Squarepants?"

John blushed. "Uh, there was nothing else on?"

"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea..." she began.

He turned and stared at her.

"Never said I didn't watch it," she giggled.

"How did your parents ever handle you?" he asked, shaking his head.

"I added entertainment and humor to their lives." She leaned up against him. "Just like I do to yours."

"Oh, so that's what they call it these days. And here I thought it was just plain old fashioned insanity."

"You wish." She yawned. "I don't know why I'm so tired."

"Perhaps the thought of all the paperwork awaiting you wore you out?"

"That's mean!"

"If it makes you feel better, I'm feeling a little worn out myself. What d'you say we call it an early evening? I figure by tomorrow they'll have the roads plowed and salted so you'll be able to get home."

Her heart fell. She had wondered how long it would be until she overstayed her welcome. "Yeah."

Sensing a change in her mood, he looked at her. "I'm not trying to get rid of you. I just figured you'd like to get away from me at some point."

She smiled and touched his cheek, locking her eyes with his, but said nothing.

"Um... I, um..." Was all he could mutter.

"New Year's, John. New Year's." She removed her hand from his cheek.

"New Year's what?" Now he was thoroughly confused.

But all she did was smile. "You'll see. But this is one bet I'm going to win." With that, she disappeared up the stairs and back into her room leaving John to contemplate and decipher her cryptic message before he, too, was overcome with sleep and retreated to his own room, still wondering what she meant.


The End