Just a little nothing. Thanks to Cyclone for her commentary! DM, as always your input was helpful! It's changed a bit from what either of you saw, but hopefully for the better!

Retrospective Perspective (1/1)
By: Mariel

Sighing, John Doggett sat down on a cold park bench and ran strong fingers through his hair. The air was still, and crisp enough to turn warm breath into cool clouds of vapour. Leaning forward, he placed his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands in front of him. Gazing sightlessly out over the river, he tried to gather his thoughts....

It had all gone wrong somehow. It didn't matter how much he hoped her to be and wanted her to be, she wasn't there for him anymore.

Not like she had been.

Once, he believed, Monica Reyes been waiting until he was ready, waiting until he could turn his eyes away from the past and look at her and see his future.

Now things were changed, and he was uncertain how the change had happened and what, if anything, he should - or could - do about it.

She'd come back into his life at a bad time. In the throes of unrequited passion for Scully, he hadn't been prepared for her, hadn't thought of her as anything but a means to an end. Scully wanted something. Monica could help him get it for her. The thought process behind his calling her had been as simple as that.

She'd accomplished what he'd asked of her, though the results hadn't been what he'd wanted. Monica was weird that way - she never failed you, but in giving you what you asked for, she didn't always manage to give you what you wanted.

He knew this from experience. After all, he'd asked her to help find his son, and she had. When she found him, he had been three days dead.

He'd asked her to help find Mulder for Scully, and she had found him, too. Dead.

Be careful what you ask for, at least when you ask it of Monica.

Thinking back, he realised that, wrapped in his endless thoughts of Scully, he hadn't paid Monica much attention when, job done, she'd said goodbye and returned to New Orleans. In fact, if he recalled correctly, he'd even been relieved she'd gone and taken her not-so-subtle observations with her.

Now, in the safety of retrospective thought, he realised what he hadn't then. It had been good to see her. Thinking back, he realised it had been good to see someone actually smile. At him...as though she really meant it...as though the smile came from the heart and not from some cynical, cold corner of a preoccupied mind.

It had been good to once again be surprised by both her flakiness and by her sharp, down-to-earth practicality.

In retrospect, it had been good to work with her again.

In retrospect, he'd wished he'd maybe talked to her a bit more.

In retrospect, he'd wished he'd argued with her a bit more about her take on his feelings regarding Scully.

In retrospect, that had been embarrassing. To have her know so much...

How did she do that?

Now that life had settled and he had time to think, he realized that seeing her had stirred memories he'd thought safely buried, if not forgotten. Memories not of his son's death, but of the woman who'd helped him through the pain of it. He'd used her during the time of his son's abduction, and used her again when he wanted help for Scully. And she'd allowed it without question.

The feeling of gratefulness he experienced in retrospect surprised him.

She'd come to help. Because he'd asked. Hadn't required anything in return, hadn't wanted or expected anything.

Perhaps that spoke badly of her expectations of him.

Now she was back, and pushing into things he didn't want touched, opening wounds he didn't want to acknowledge. He was angry, he was hurt - and he was frustrated because deep down, she was right and he knew he should listen to her.

He closed his eyes, remembering...

He'd placed the files he'd been pretending to read down on his desk and sighed.


His red-headed partner looked across the office at him and smiled. It was a smile that for a while had sent his heart a-flutter, a smile that he'd imagined held promise.

Now he knew better.

He felt a fool, but that couldn't be undone. Scully was an incredible woman - brilliant, beautiful - and remote as hell to anyone but Mulder.

In retropect, he'd probably known that on some level all along, but at the time, Scully had seemed like a glimpse of hope, the chance of a future. She had presented him with his opportunity to act as saviour, to play the white knight. Her white knight. It had been good to feel those feelings, to think about more than work, to think about bigger issues than closing a case, to champion someone's cause. It had started out as sympathy, but he couldn't deny that those feelings developed into way more than he'd expected. He thought that there had been times she had come close to having the same feelings. The both of them had been at a point in their lives when they were ready - or desperate - to have someone else in their lives.

And then Mulder returned, and whatever thoughts she'd had and whatever hopes he'd held, died.

A closeness remained, however, initiated, he thought, more by her than himself. He got the feeling at times that she was worried about him, that she recognized a sort of 'there but for the grace of God go I' sort of thing.

It didn't make him feel great, but there wasn't much he could do about it without confronting her, and that wasn't likely to happen.

And it didn't solve the problem of Monica.

Monica. Part of his life before, and suddenly part of his life now. A snake eating its tail, a completed circle.

But since her return, she had removed herself in a subtle way he couldn't define, withdrawn from him on an unspoken level that he felt uncomfortable about.

She'd always cared about him, always looked out for him. Without consciously thinking it, he had felt she always would.

Now he wasn't so sure. He saw how her ex looked at her, saw how she returned those looks - uncertainly, perhaps, but there was definitely something still there. He couldn't precisely define how he felt about that, but he knew it didn't make him happy. If anything, it frightened him a little, because it was another indication that she could possibily be moving, and in the wrong direction.

Not that there could be a wrong direction - he had no hold on her, no call to speak one way or the other. Hell, she had barely got here. Who was he to tell her anything? Without coming right out and saying it, he had let her know that she was completely independent and that he was as well. He didn't want ties, and couldn't take the risk of caring, of being part of someone else. He'd already proved that didn't work.

But lately, he found himself beginning to doubt his conviction. Clasping his hands tightly in front of him, he realised that now wasn't the time for Monica to withdraw from him. Looking back, he realised he needed her because when he fell, it would be in her direction, and he would need her there.

He sighed, and looked down at his hands. The question, he supposed, became one of whether he would act, or not. Years of frozen inaction made the thought daunting.

Turning his thoughts from the past and present, he questioned how, years from now, he would view the consequences of his action or lack thereof? He pictured himself, older, greyer, sitting alone on a bench like this on a day like this...

With the sun lowered, it had grown even colder. Standing up, he moved stiffly away from the park bench. His feet moving though leaves that crisply protested his passing, he headed towards his car. When he reached it, he looked back to the bench he had sat on for the past hour. He checked his watch, then made a decision. Feeling strength gained from his newfound retrospective perspective, he pulled out his cell phone and punched in the most recently added speed dial code.

He waited a moment, then in response to the 'hello' on the other end of the line, said, "Monica? John. Have you had dinner yet?" He listened, then said, "No? Wanna pick up something to eat?"

Still talking to her, he opened his car door and got in. He wasn't sure where he was going, but at least he was on his way.

Something told him when he took the time later to look at things in retrospect, he'd have no regrets.

Retrospective Perspective (1/1)