Author's Note: These are all separate fics based off a prompt of different song lyrics. Each fic uses only one prompt. I'll make notes about the prompt, rating, POV, format, and any spoilers, if necessary.
Prompt: "you set fire to me that night, you lit and left me burning; out of my mind, but in my sights, I saw the tables turning." - from "Fatally Yours" by Alkaline Trio. Rated PG-13 to R.
Monica sighed and closed her eyes as she approached the basement office she shared with John. Today promised to be interesting, after last night's close call.
It started out like any other night after work. They hit up McGinty's for a few beers, a few laughs, and maybe a game of pool or darts, then they parted merrily and headed home. At least that was their usual routine. Last night ended up a bit differently...
..."Ah, I think I hear the 5 o'clock whistle blowin'," John said, standing from his desk and grabbing his jacket from the back of his chair.
Monica looked up and smirked. "You're sure in a hurry to get out of here."
"After the day I've had, you betcha."
Monica's expression sombered. John's ex-wife, Barbara, had called him as soon as he arrived at work to let him know she was getting married again. It hit John hard, Monica could sense it. She knew a part of him still loved Barb, even after everything they'd been through – especially after what they'd gone through.
"You up for a few brews, Mon? I could really use a friend right now," John asked, and though his words were innocent enough, his eyes were pleading with her to say yes.
Monica's heart broke at his expression. "Of course, John. You know I can't leave someone who's in need." She smiled brightly, but an undertone of seriousness still permeated her words.
"Thanks," John said softly. He started to reach out for her, then caught himself and drew his hand back, clenching it into a fist. "McGinty's?"
Monica nodded, not daring to speak for fear that her words would betray her exterior.
"Great. Meet ya there." John was out of the office before Monica could even say a word...
...John slid into his truck, mentally berating himself for running out like that. He hit the steering wheel with his open palm, mad at himself and upset over Barb.
Monica held her head high as she walked through the parking garage to her car, willing herself to not let his behavior get to her. She knew he wasn't an open person, and she knew not to expect him to just let her in, but after all she'd seen him through, to see him hold back broke her heart. She was afraid he'd never let her in, and the thought depressed her, because she knew she would love him forever, regardless of the status of their relationship.
"No. Don't think like that, Monica," she said to herself. "This is just John being John. That's what made you fall in love with him in the first place. Just go to the bar, make sure he doesn't get TOO trashed, and let him get it out tonight." She sighed and turned the key...
...Monica pulled up to McGinty's and parked next to John's truck, then headed into the dimly lit bar, where she saw John at the bar, nursing what appeared to be scotch.
"Had to resort to a scotch? Must really be bad," Monica joked, swinging herself on to the stool next to him.
"Not much of a scotch man. It's whiskey," he said, strangely devoid of emotion.
"You sure that's a good idea?"
"Look, it's my life, and I'll drink whatever the hell I want," John said sternly, and just a little above normal speaking range.
Monica didn't flinch. He'd done this before. After Luke. She was expecting him to behave this way, and she knew the only way she'd get him to confront his demons would be to dish it right back at him.
"Well, guess what, John. I'm not going to be responsible for you getting yourself into a world of hurt." She grabbed the glass from his hand and forced it to the bar, liquor sloshing over the edge.
John looked up at her, anger flashing in his eyes, and stood up. When he came at her, she didn't move. She knew what was coming.
He descended on her and gave her the biggest hug she'd ever been given. He held on for a long time, then finally brushed her cheek with his lips as he whispered, "Thank you."
She smiled against his rough cheek, then brought herself to say what she had been contemplating: "Should we just forget the bar?"
He pulled himself away from her and looked her in the eye. The intensity of his gaze made Monica warm all over, and she knew the answer...
...Monica slipped her key into her apartment door, fully aware of what could happen once they stepped inside and closed the door.
Once inside, she turned to face John. He was looking around anxiously, as if he'd never been in her apartment before.
He faced her. He knew what she expected, but he didn't know if he could go through with it. He'd at least try.
He found himself moving closer to her, and before long, his lips pressed against hers, and they shared a kiss that was meant to be simple, but continued to grow. The whiskey, what little of it he'd had, along with the torrent of emotions the day had brought on, took its effect on John, and he was soon pushing Monica to her bedroom.
Monica, as much as she wanted this, was supposed to be the voice of reason. "John...John," she said, trying to get his attention.
He continued to assault her with kisses, taking out his energy through lovemaking, and ignored her call of his name.
"John," Monica repeated, more urgently this time. She knew if they went through with this and had sex tonight, they'd both regret it in the morning. "Stop!"
That word was enough to pull John out of the moment. "Mon?"
She shook her head, looking at her now crumpled bedsheets. "I...I just don't want either one of us to regret this. I don't want to put a strain on our relationship."
John turned from her. "I should go."
"Yeah." Monica spoke quietly, but he heard her. "Do you need a ride?"
"I'm fine, Mon. I'll see you tomorrow." He left her bedroom in a hurry, slamming the door on his way out. He hopped in his truck and squealed the tires in his rush to get the hell out of there.
Monica sighed to herself and flopped onto her bed. He'd get over it. This was for the best...
...Monica finally worked up the guts to push open the office door, then opened her eyes. The office was empty. She let out the breath she'd been holding and moved to her desk, where she noticed a piece of paper addressed to her in John's chicken scratch. She unfolded the note and read it to herself.
I ran to the coffeeshop for some joe. Don't worry – I'll get some kind of vanilla de-caf mocha soy thingamabob for you. Sorry about last night. I guess I pushed things kinda far, huh? I'll make it up to you.
Monica smiled to herself. Even if he'd never been able to say it out loud, she knew. And in the long run, that was all that really mattered.