I Couldn't Be There

Author: Langleigh

E-mail: langleigh75@yahoo.com

Rating:PG

Keywords: Follmer pov, Reyes pov, hinted FUA (Follmer unrequited affections)

Category: V, post-ep

Spoilers: Audrey Pauley

Archiving: Yes at XFMU, ReyesRomances, Ephmeral and Gossamer. All others must ask me first.

Disclaimers: The characters and concepts of the X-Files belong to people other than me. People with lots more money than me. Such is life...

Summary: Someone was missing who should have been at Monica's bedside

"I Couldn't Be There"

Assistance Director Bradford Follmer turned his gaze to the other side of the room, carefully avoiding the harsh glare Walter Skinner was giving him as they waited out side Kersh's office. The Deputy Director had called for them both a few minutes before.

"Do you have any idea what this is about?" Follmer asked idly.

Skinner's reply never came. Instead, Kersh's secretary spoke up. "He's ready to see you both, now," she said in apologetic tones. Both men reached for the doorknob first, and Skinner was the first to turn it.

Follmer was getting annoyed with the competition between them, but his scalding comment faded away when he saw the grim look on the Deputy Director's face.

~x~X~x~

Alone in his office, Follmer couldn't contain his grief. He cried, curled in a fetal position on the floor behind his desk. The door was locked--it had been the last coherent thought before the flood of tears escaped him.

Monica was in the hospital... she was brain dead... Kersh's words jumbled about in his mind. The doctor didn't have much hope for her, he'd said in a detached manner, uncaringly relaying just the facts. Unaware that both men present seemed visibly shaken.

Or that one of them could scarcely contain the fact that his world had just been shattered.

"Moni... oh, my Moni," Follmer moaned, his whole body wracked with pain. There were so many things he regretted at that moment, hiding behind his desk like a child afraid to face the world's harsh reality. His face was wet and streaked with evidence of his heart's pain. How he wished he could tell her now... apologize for past sins... make his feelings for her known. But he could not do that. Not now.

He was there. John Doggett... the man Follmer knew she loved now, even if she had never said as much. Perhaps Follmer didn't quite deserve that privileged information, but none of that mattered now. She was gone, and he was there.

So, instead of going to her bedside to say good-bye, Follmer sat there until his tears ceased to fall and he had finally composed himself enough to do as Kersh had asked him to do--contact Monica's parents and inform them of the situation.

He was just finishing the phone call when Agent Scully stopped by. By that time, no one would ever have known the cool Assistant Director had ever cried over Monica Reyes' passing. He'd made a show for Scully--having paperwork piled high around him on the desk and seeming totally immersed in their content. Just another day on the job for Bradford Follmer. But he was really running on sheer adrenaline behind that mask of stone.

Scully, however, had actually managed to break through that mask once again, had she but stayed long enough to know it. She mentioned that Monica was an organ donor and that Agent Doggett was fighting to keep them from harvesting her organs. The news waited until she left to sink in... and then Follmer remembered that a friend of Monica's had died while they were in New York. She died because she'd needed a transplant and no organ donor had been available at the time. Follmer easily recalled holding Monica late at night and hearing her cry because of the loss.

The memory called to mind happier days, when they were still lovers, and his tears came anew. Follmer broke down, and went to her then, wanting nothing more than to sit by her beside, if only to see her one last time. But he stopped himself at the hospital entrance. He couldn't bring himself to go in, not knowing Doggett was there... hovering over Moni.

Nor could he bring himself to see her lying there, helpless and dead. That thought alone frightened him terribly. He shut his eyes, his mind calling up the memory of her vibrant, living face. It was all he had left of her, he realized, as he sadly walked away from the hospital.

He went home, not bothering to return to the office, and proceeded to wash his pain away with alcohol. It wasn't until the next day, his head pounding, that he found out she had recovered miraculously.

And he hadn't been there.

~x~X~x~

Monica's eyes fluttered as the door to her hospital room opened and a candy striper stepped inside. She was carrying a vase full of flowers. Roses... white and red... She knew without looking who they were from.

"Would you like to read the card?" the volunteer asked with a friendly smile. Monica nodded and took the card from her.

::I'm sorry I couldn't be there.:: It said in Brad Follmer's well-trained hand writing.

"I know..." Monica whispered as the woman closed the door, leaving her alone once more.