I think Reyes could have been a very interesting character if they hadn't made her into a complete flake. Mulder came off as open-minded (among other things); Reyes for most of her time on the show (she did have her moments) just came off as a flake. She was written poorly, and her motivations remain murky. I wanted to know why she was so ready to help Mulder and Scully (aside from convenience for the writers), so I decided to play with her character a little. This picks up toward the end of 'This is not Happening', just before Skinner tells her about Mulder, and continues from there.

John didn't tell her everything when he called her for help, Reyes grumbled silently, hands twitching for a cigarette. He didn't know that he should have told her, so she couldn't really blame him, but if she'd known...if she'd known, she might not have come. She'd have found some excuse to avoid getting mixed up in all of it.

The funny thing was, it wasn't the whole aliens and UFOs thing that bothered her. She thrived on weird stuff; otherwise life got boring, and she didn't do boredom. It wasn't even the idea of working another missing persons with John that had her on edge. Dead or not, Luke Dogget was always right beside his father, an invisible little ghost that his father couldn't let go.

Nope. It was the grieving redhead that made her want to revert back to the less than savory activities of her youth. She was the reason Reyes had chain-smoked for the first time in almost five years that morning. She'd weaned herself down to four cigarettes a day, but since she'd gotten involved in this, she'd tripled that.

It wasn't that she didn't like Agent Scully, rather she felt the opposite. There still weren't too many women in the Bureau, and even fewer who didn't think she was nuts. She figured they'd get along pretty well...if Reyes didn't want to run screaming in the other direction.

Monica knew she had no right, but she kind of wanted to cause John a little bodily harm. It wasn't really his fault, he didn't know, but still... He had said he wanted her help to find a missing agent, Fox Mulder. A long time follower of the x files, she was familiar with the office's history and occupants. She'd called John after hearing that he was assigned there, and expressed her jealousy. He laughed at her, said working the x files was a hell of a trip.

Reyes had wanted assignment to the x files for years, but everyone knew that it would take a nuclear explosion to remove Mulder and Scully from the office (and each other). There were two other agents assigned for a while, but she found out about their placement only after it happened. There was no opportunity to submit a transfer request then.

John wanted a second opinion, one educated on all things weird. His partner and their AD believed that Mulder was abducted by aliens, and they were heading west to chase UFOs. She'd laughed. John Dogget chasing UFOs. She never believed she'd see that. But, it was an x file, she'd agreed without giving it a lot of thought. She should have given all those rumors she'd heard for years more thought.

Reyes ran a hand through her hair, and stared again at AD Skinner, his eyes very dark, very guarded. Scully was in the next room, interrogating a man she thought to be alien, and Skinner had just pulled Monica out of that same room with news. They found Mulder. The search was over, Agent Mulder had been returned and found. Problem was, he was dead, and they had to figure out how to tell Scully that.

Skinner was already knocking on the door, while Reyes was still wishing for a cigarette. It took a minute, but the redhead appeared, less than enthusiastic, at the door.

"What is it?" She asked.

"It's Mulder." It must have been written in Skinner's eyes, because she knew right away what that meant. Scully shut the door, and hurried out of the building, Skinner by her side, leading the way to Mulder.

Twigs cracking and leaves crunching under their feet drew the attention of the crowd that she knew would be surrounding a body. She could hear Scully's breathing quicken at the sight, and she plowed right on toward him. John stopped her before she could get too close and held her back. Monica watched it all, silent, unable to figure out how to help stop the train that was seconds away from driving full-speed into a rock wall.

"Where is he?" Her voice was high, as she struggled against her partner.

"Agent Scully, he's over there."

"How bad is he?"

John didn't respond, but continued to hold the struggling woman back.

"How bad is he?" She repeated more frantically. No one answered her. "How bad is he hurt?"

Reyes watched her finally break free, and run over to the body, falling beside it. Gently, she caressed his cheek, fingers shaking as moved over the horrible scars. Then she began to chant. "No, no, no, no...He needs help."

And, the train hit the wall. The engine was still running, but it was now a twisted, grotesque version of what it had been.

John pulled Scully away from her dead partner, her dead lover. "It's too late."

"He needs help!" Either she broke away again, or he let her ago, it was hard to tell, but she set off running like a bat out of hell.

"Agent Scully," John tried half-heartedly.

Monica didn't have much of a view, but it was enough. Her eyes roved the scars marring his handsome face, and the pallor of his cold, very dead body. Her mind started to slide to another time, another body, and she shook her head violently. She wasn't going back there. She couldn't go back there.

Her stomach was churning violently, tying itself in labyrinthine knots, and her memories of the past beat violently against her mind, trying to break through. She pushed it back again, as they charged through the woods, only to stop suddenly and shield their eyes from the blinding light not far in the distance. At the compound.

They seemed to freeze for several minutes, while the bright white light shone above them. Then it suddenly disappeared, and she and her companions glanced at each other, sharing the same startling thought. Scully. Oh god, was she taken with the light? They charged through the woods, and rushed into the compound. They didn't see her, but were close enough to hear the scream that confirmed she was still with them.

Monica froze in her tracks, staring in at the building the scream emanated from. Then she screamed again, not quite as loud, but just as agonized as the first. Reyes couldn't move, couldn't think beyond that moment, and the screams echoing in her head. They were familiar to her, too familiar, and she wanted to run, run far away from that compound and that grieving redhead.

The past slammed into her consciousness, the memories of a terrified little girl. She could feel the soft fur of her stuffed cat under her fingertips and between her fingers. The gunshot was loud, painful to her ears, but nothing compared to the screams that followed. The gunman, the man who broke into their house in the middle of the night to rob them, ran back out into the night. The screaming should have sounded more muffled after the gunshot, but it was so, so clear to her.

She crept from the bathroom where she'd hidden, and walked downstairs to the living room. Her father laid dead, in his own blood. Her mother held him in her lap, and rocked back and forth. Tears streamed out of her red eyes, and she screamed and screamed out in her pain. She didn't notice her little girl watching. She didn't process anything beyond the death of her husband.

"Mon...Mon," John was in front of her, calling her name. AD Skinner had vanished, presumably attend to Scully.

"Yeah?" The fog of her past disappeared again, satisfied now that it had made itself known.

"You okay?"

She nodded at her friend, and they both turned to see Skinner running out of the building, chasing Scully again. Tears visible on her cheeks, the redhead ran back into the woods, back to her lover's body.

Monica and Dogget followed after them.

That was what John never told her, what she'd realized only minutes after meeting Scully. They were lovers, that much had become painfully obvious to her. For how long, she didn't know, but when Agent Mulder disappeared that night three months ago, Agent Scully had been mourning more than just the loss of a close friend. Her lover. Reyes knew what that kind of grief did to a person. She had feared it her whole life. She never wanted to be that close to someone, she never wanted to be the redhead collapsing in a heap next her lover's body.

Scully stroked his face again, her tears falling on his skin. She wasn't sobbing yet, but her lips and fingers trembled as she reached for him. Her whole body seemed to shake with grief as she gathered him into her lap, and held him close. Her sobs were quiet when they began, muffled as she pressed her face into his neck. Scully might have been quieter in her grieving than Monica's mother had been, but like her mother years ago, she began to rock slowly back and forth.

Why do they do that? Why do they rock their dead lovers like a mother would her frightened child? Is it like a shock victim reverting back to childhood, when being that child rocked by a parent brought them comfort? Reyes doubted anything could bring the distraught mess on the ground any comfort. Not right now at least.

Skinner and John exchanged looks. They didn't know what to do anymore than she did. John waved them away from the scene painful scene.

"We should give her some time," Skinner sighed.

"Yeah, but not too much. That isn't healthy for the baby."

What? Her brain froze struggling with that thought. "Scully's pregnant?"

John grimaced. "I forgot you didn't know that."

"Oh god," she murmured, putting a hand over her mouth. She looked over at her broken-hearted colleague. "Did Mulder know?"

"You're assuming a lot there, Agent Reyes," Skinner said, unfriendly look on his face.

She gave him an equally unfriendly look, and nodded over toward Scully. "That doesn't leave any opportunity for assumption, it just flat out says it."

"It doesn't matter. We need to figure out how to handle this situation." John ran a hand though his hair. If he hadn't looked so tired and lost, she might have criticized his word usage. Situation was way too clinical.

"AD Skinner is right, we need to give her time."

"And then? I don't think it's going to be easy to pry her away from him." John looked worriedly at them.

"We'll figure it out," she said. He nodded, and left to tell the crime scene techs to give Scully a minute with the body.

Then the three of them did what cops to best; they assessed and ran the scene. They pretended it was any other victim with any other grieving widow, and went about their cop business. Screams were still echoing inside Monica's head, now a mix between past and present. She ignored them. She'd gotten good at that growing up, though alcohol and cigarettes had helped take the edge off.

When a minute turned into twenty-five, she allowed herself to look again at the center of the crime scene. Scully was quiet, she hadn't moved and her cheeks still glistened with tears. She'd stopped rocking, and just sat, holding him tightly to her. Reyes walked back toward the compound, and got a wool blanket from the EMTs. When she got back to the clearing, Skinner and John were standing a few feet from Scully, trying to figure out what to do.

Monica would try and do what she couldn't for her mother. She'd been too young to understand it then; all she'd known was that Mommy wouldn't stop screaming and crying, and Daddy wasn't moving. Tonight, everything was painfully clear to her.

"Dana," she said gently, crouching down next to her. The other woman didn't respond, so she continued. "I know since you're a doctor, you know sitting out here in the middle of a chilly night isn't good for your baby. And, as an agent, you know we need to let them processes the scene. When they finish, you can ride back with him, and sit with him as long as you need to, okay?"

To her surprise, Scully nodded. She kissed his bloodless, pale lips, and set him gently back on the ground; one hand drifted along his chest, as if she were reluctant to leave him alone, exposed. Monica helped her up, and wrapped the wool blanket around her, gently guiding her away from Mulder's body and back toward the compound. She sat Scully in the back of the ambulance, and nodded to the paramedic.

"Can you check her for shock?" He nodded, and began timing Scully's pulse, two fingers over the vein in her wrist. For her part, Scully simply stared off into the woods, as if still looking at Mulder's body.

"I'm so sorry Dana, I can't imagine how hard this is for you." It was sounded hallow and lame, but Monica didn't know what else to say to her.

Scully finally looked at her. "He made me stay behind to protect me, he was afraid I'd be abducted again. Hard was finding out he'd been taken after I didn't make him stay too, didn't protect him. This, Agent Reyes...is completely impossible."

She nodded in understanding. "Did he know about the baby?"

Scully looked down at her hands, one drifting subconsciously to her still-flat stomach. Jaw tense, she looked up, voice cracking slightly. "No, he did not."

She turned her head, and Monica followed her gaze to see John and Skinner walking toward them. Her eyes stayed on Skinner as he came to stand beside her, his face clearly saying he was desperately trying to figure out what to say, but kept coming up empty. She saved him the trouble.

"You were right, I shouldn't have bothered trying to prepare myself. Nothing I could do, could prepare me for this." Scully's voice cracked, but she didn't cry. Just turned her face away from the them, took a shaky breath, and pulled herself together.

"I'm so sorry Scully, I can't, I can't believe..." In fact, Skinner couldn't seem to finish his sentence, and Reyes wondered if he might cry. John said he was close to Mulder and Scully, defensive of him, and protective of her, but it still took her by surprise.

Scully actually smiled, though it was bitter, the smile of one who'd seen and survived more than their fair share. "That his lives finally ran out?" Skinner nodded. "Yeah, me neither."

The paramedic interrupted them. "I don't believe you're in shock, but your blood pressure is a little high, Ma'am. Being pregnant, that can be dangerous. You should lie down and rest awhile."

"Thank you." She nodded to the paramedic.

"You heard the man, let's get you back to the hotel," John announced.

"I'm riding with Mulder to the morgue, I'll go back after that."

Her voice had taken on a bizarre sort of calm that made Monica nervous, as she'd jumped from grief into a thick protective fog. It was the kind of calm that said she'd stopped feeling, and Monica knew that type on a very personal level. It was that general ambivalence that made her mother forget that she had a young daughter, the neglect that soon sent that little girl to live with her mother's sister and brother-in-law in Mexico. They adopted her and raised her as their own, and her mother remained in perpetual grief until she was killed by a drunk driver two years after her husband died.

Monica had seen few things more powerful than grief, and few things scarier than real love.

"You really think that's a good idea?" John clearly didn't think it was.

"It's just a card ride, Agent Dogget. I'll be fine." She said it as if she hadn't just been on the ground sobbing.

"You and I both know that ain't just a car ride, Agent Scully," he said.

"I'm going." Blue eyes almost blazing with determination, she slid out of the ambulance, and walked toward the woods, only to shop short at the sight of a black bag on a gurney.

"Agent Scully?"

"I've got her, you two finish up here," Skinner directed them, before following Scully. Reyes and Dogget returned to running the scene, mostly questioning the members of the cult, not that any of them really knew anything.

It was another hour, before Reyes was able to break away for a cigarette. She left the building they'd kept all the cult members in, back into the cool night air, lighting the cigarette as she walked. She was sliding her lighter back in her pocket when she noticed the ambulance was still there, and Scully was standing, staring blankly into the back and the black bag inside.

Reyes inhaled several deep drags of nicotine, and quickly extinguished the butt. Straightening herself out, burying her nerves, she walked up to her grieving colleague.

"I expected you'd be gone by now."

Scully turned, startled. "Oh, uh there seems to be some confusion as to where to take--" she froze, unable to say his name, "um, the local ME or direct to Quantico."

Reyes nodded, looking at the ground, unable to look into those empty blue eyes, still frozen on that first sight of Mulder's body. She would bet that Scully had every inch of damaged memorized within those first few seconds. Reyes shivered.

"You okay, Agent Reyes? You seem a little shaky?" Scully was frowning now, her eyes more focused than they had been seconds ago.

Of course, Scully's a doctor, Reyes remembered, reverting to what she knows would bring her back. She smiled slightly. "Fine, this just brings back memories that I'd rather not think about."

Still frowning, eyes focusing a little more, "You lost someone?"

Monica swallowed, nodding. "My father. I was very young. It destroyed my mother," she paused, noting that the other woman's eyes had become completely focused, and took a chance, looking now directly into Scully's eyes. "She forgot she had a child."

It took a moment, a quick very subtle moment, but Scully picked up her meaning. Her eyes fell to the ground, and a tired breath trembled down her throat. She looked back up, "I'm sorry, Agent Reyes, that must have been very difficult."

Reyes shrugged. "I was adopted by my aunt and uncle, and they were great."

Skinner appeared then, shaking his head, and rubbing a hand over it. "Alright, I finally got this straightened out. He's going to the local morgue tonight, and they'll put him on our plane tomorrow. The doctors at Quantico will take care of everything."

"No autopsy."

"Scully, it's standard procedure."

"Not this time, no autopsy."

Skinner sighed. "Scully--"

She cut him off. "No. He's already been stuck, cut, and violated enough, I can't put him through any more of that."

"But, Scully, he's--" He stopped when she put her hand up.

"I know, I know he is, but I just can't...what they put him through, you can't know what that's like, and he had to die to finally be free of those butchers, I can't..." Scully struggled, eyes already glistening with tears, hands twisting the cross around her neck. She closed her eyes, and inhaled, gathering her control again. "Damn it, he's no one's specimen anymore, and he never will be again. There will be no autopsy."

Scully had been abducted once as well, and returned barely alive, she recalled John mentioning. They done significant damage to her, he'd said. She'd barely survived a brain tumor. Reyes knew she was right, none of them could understand what he'd been though.

Skinner nodded, giving her shoulder a squeeze. "Okay, I'll make sure no one touches him."

Scully nodded then, a hand over her mouth, as she tried to keep from crying again. Reyes could see the tears already hanging in her eyes. The redhead looked away from them then, and climbed into the back of the ME's van, as they came around to shut the doors.

"Agent Scully?" Monica stopped them. She turned, looking on the verge of breaking down again. "Take care of yourself, okay?"

Her meaning must have been clear enough, because Scully nodded, whispering, "Thank you."

They did shut the doors then, started the engine, and drove off with a tragedy still playing out in the back of their vehicle. Reyes turned away, and saw John coming out of the building, looking exhausted. She glanced at her watch. Jesus, it was almost 4:30.

"Nobody knows nothing. Let's get the hell outta here, there's nothing more we can do," he announced.

She nodded, and followed him to the rental sedan they'd come in. Once inside, she rolled down the window, and lit a fresh cigarette. Monica enjoyed one long drag before feeling eyes on her, and turned to see him shooting her a disapproving look. She shook her head.

"Don't say it, John. Right now, I won't here it."

He seemed to mull that over, before turning away and leaving her in piece. The engine turning over jarred her already fragile nerves, but she didn't comment. Monica turned her attention toward the window. It was so dark, she couldn't see much on the drive, but she didn't need to. Her past was playing out in vivid color in her mind, blending with the horrors of tonight.

Damn it. Damn it, she cursed silently. She shivered again, ignored John's concerned glance, and lit a new cigarette from her finished stub.

She would not soon forget Dana Scully. And if John asked her to, she'd come to help again.