Title: The Truth About Cats and Doggett

Author/pseudonym: PegE

Email address: Feedback (pleeeeeeeeez) to mmo520@yahoo.com

Rating: PG-13 (mild profanity. Maybe a "hard" PG).

Pairings: Doggett/Reyes


Spoilers: "Audrey Pauley" (Is there another episode for us drippers?)

Status: Complete

Date: 5/1/02

Archive: Sure, just let me know


Other web site:

Summary: This is what *should* have happened after Doggett dropped Reyes off.

Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine, and I'm not making any money off this (or anything else) so don't bother to sue me.

Notes: DRR, Reyes POV

Somehow, these rides with John are never what I expect.

I should probably stop expecting anything; that would be the smart, the logical, thing to do.

But logic isn't my strong point; I'm much better at intuition. And my intuition tells me John and I are heading toward a relationship that's much more than just professional.

I don't think John has much use for my intuition, at least not most days. Once in a while, I offer a theory and he looks at me like I just landed from Mars or wherever it is our bounty hunter friends are from.

And once in a while, I catch him looking at me with a soft, almost tender expression that makes it very hard to get back down to business.

John, John, John. I don't like making the first move, but he's so pigheaded that I might not have a choice.

He's driving me home from the hospital after my car accident. Audrey, God rest her soul, told me he loved me very much, and I think I believe her. But I want to hear it from him.

Correction: I *need* to hear it from him, like I need to see him every day, like I need to hear the strange New York-Georgia hybrid he speaks, like I need to reach out and take his hand and press it to my lips until I've kissed every fingertip.

That last item is a longstanding "need," by the way.

I'm not hearing much from him tonight. I'm not hearing anything, in fact. He hasn't said a word since we pulled off the hospital parking lot. Every now and then he glances my direction in the rear view mirror, then looks away. I pretend not to notice. I don't want to cause him any embarrassment. I don't want to embarrass myself by getting lost in those blue eyes.

He's thinking of getting a cat. I can't imagine John with a cat. A Labrador, yes. A golden retriever or a collie or a German shepherd or even a Chihuahua, for God's sake, but not a cat.

I told him so; I even told him why. And I swear to God, he was ready to kiss me when I finished explaining myself that night. I was just about to let my eyes close and my lips purse when he decided to say goodnight. I think it was because I told him I couldn't imagine him ever disappointing anyone. Does he think he disappointed Luke? Or his wife?

Maybe he's disappointed himself.

Damn cats. He's probably allergic to them, anyway.

Two more turns, and we'll be at my building. I should invite him in for a beer or coffee.

I should lean over and plant one on him. We might both die of shock, but I'd die happy.

When I can manage to look at anything besides his eyes, I catch myself studying the lean planes of his face. His features have been stripped of the extraneous; he's all bone structure and strength and weariness wrapped up in an NYPD package of cynicism. It's only when the weariness is too great that the broken heart is visible. Is there a woman on the planet who doesn't want to make it all better for him?

Last turn. I can see my building ahead on the right and I start preparing to get out of the truck. I button my jacket, I grab my purse, and I unbuckle my seatbelt, which earns me a knit-browed look. The vehicle is still moving; do I want to fly out the windshield?

John, John, John.

He pulls to the curb, stops, puts the truck in "park." My duffle bag is tucked behind his seat, and he reaches back for it. I take it immediately from him. I don't want him carrying my burdens.

"Well...." he says, and stops.

"Thanks for the ride," I say, calm and understanding as always. I hear my voice and think, what? Kiss him, you idiot. But I'm not paying any attention. I'm afraid if I stay in the truck with him, I'll do something even stupider than kissing him, though at this point, even I can't imagine what that could be.

"No problem. See you at the office." His face is without expression. People who don't know John would say that's not unusual. I know John; the blank expression makes me wonder what he's hiding. He doesn't even offer to walk me to the door or to take the duffle bag for me.

I open the door and step out into the street, but before I can slam it shut, I find myself turning back to him. "Why don't you come in for coffee?" I say.

He looks up, surprised, and I see a slight spark in his eyes. Is that hope?

"You must be pretty worn-out," he begins, but I don't let him finish.

"No, I'm too wired to sleep. Besides, don't you need help coming up with a name for your cat?"

"What's wrong with Fluffy?" he says, with that half-mocking, macho smirk he gets when he thinks he's being witty. "Or Muffin? Or Hairball?"

I roll my eyes. "You really could use some caffeine."

He gets out of the truck and walks around to where I'm waiting for him. Then he takes the duffle bag from me. "How about Tunabreath?"

"How about a dog, John?" I'm unlocking the front door. "A nice, friendly, tail-wagging dog. One that doesn't drool too much or shed all over everything you own."

"Princess Fur-for-brains?" he suggests, following me in to the foyer and to my front door. "Morris? Garfield?"

"I think you'd look good with a golden retriever," I tell him, unlocking my apartment door. He's standing right behind me and I'm not sure I can bear his nearness. "Maybe a lab. Or a cocker spaniel."

"How about a Jack Russell?" he says. "I know a breeder."

"Too small. Too hyper." I don't like little, bouncy dogs that can't sit still for five minutes.

"Irish setter?" He's been thinking about this.

"They're not too bright," I say, leading him into the living room. He tosses the duffel bag down in the hallway that leads to the bedroom. "And they need a lot of grooming." I look at him, wondering at the change in his demeanor since he entered my building. He's standing straighter and I swear there's a twinkle in his eye. "I don't think you're the high-maintenance type."

"I didn't know you knew so much about dogs, Mon."

Is he flirting with me? "I know a little." What the hell do I know about dogs? I know about satanic rituals and the thought processes of serial killers and several dozen systems of demonology and occult symbolism. We didn't even have a dog when I was growing up. A few cats, an iguana, a guinea pig, and once, a goat, but no dogs.

Too much work, my parents said.

I have watched the Westminster kennel show on TV a few times. I don't think that counts for much.

"Want some coffee?" I ask, determined to change the subject. Next, he'll be asking for vet recommendations.

"How about a beer?" he suggests. Even better. I make terrible coffee. John probably makes very good coffee. And I bet he can cook.

"Sure. Can I take your jacket?"

"Nah, I'll set it over here." He shrugs off his jacket, tosses it across a chair as I head to the kitchen to get his beer. "Place looks great, Mon."

"Thanks," I say, returning with a Corona and a glass for him and a can of diet Coke for me. "Here you go."

"Thanks." He's sitting on the couch. "A lab, huh?" he says, and pours the beer until the glass is three-quarters full. "Chocolate or yellow?"

"I like black, myself. But I don't think you'd care." Dogs again. Too cowardly to sit next to him on my big, comfortable couch (two people could easily stretch out on it together), I take a seat on the wing chair across from him.

He smiles slightly, but says nothing. "So what do you have against cats?"

"Nothing," I say, relieved we're off the Labrador tangent. "I like cats. We had cats when I was a kid. I just don't think you're a cat person."

"You are," he says, studying me. "Yeah, definitely a cat person." He swallows about a third of his beer in one gulp. How do men do that?

I can't help it. "What makes you say that?" As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I'm longing for the awkward silence of the ride home. What is the matter with me?

John leans forward, his head slightly tilted to one side as he considers me. The weight of his gaze almost makes me uncomfortable; as always, I'm afraid he sees too much when he looks at me.

"You're smart and you don't care who knows it," he says. "Determined. Strong. Beautiful, but you just accept it as a fact; you don't really care about it. Sleek." He takes another sip. "Sensual. And independent." Another sip. I feel my face growing warm. "But you're a one-person cat. You won't cozy up to strangers. You're very devoted, as long as you're comfortable and you feel secure." He grins at me, and I realize I've never seen this particular grin. I also realize John Doggett is a ferocious flirt when he wants to be. Who knew?

"What? You're not going to tell me what my rising sign is?" It's a feeble comeback, but it's the best I can do when I'm this dizzy. Beautiful? Smart? Sensual? Where did that come from?

I could learn to live with a dog. I had a goat, for God's sake.

"Dogs can be a lot of work," I say, suddenly desperate to change the subject. If I were a cat, I'd be running to the other room for no apparent reason right now.

He grins again. "We're talking about cats. Cats are deceptively low- maintenance." He finishes his beer. "Kinda like some women."

I pride myself on being low-maintenance. I put low-maintenance on my resume. "It depends on what you consider maintenance," I begin, and then wonder where I'm going with this. On many levels.

He leans forward again, interested. "Well, what do you consider maintenance?"

We haven't been talking about cats and dogs since he took the duffle bag from me. Why have I just figured this out? And where's my intuition?

I can't even begin to formulate a response. His eyes are so blue and they're twinkling like mad right now. Before I can point out that cats spend most of the day sleeping and shedding, he's left the couch to kneel in front of me. He leans forward until his hands rest on the arms of my chair. I can feel the warmth of his body and I'm shocked to realize that his face, mouth, really, is inches from mine. He smiles at me; it's a slow, lazy, confident smile that stops my heart.

"Here, kitty," he says, and leans forward another inch to kiss me. I freeze for a second as his lips brush mine softly, but only for a second. Then I'm wrapping my arms around him and kissing him back for all I'm worth. His lips are warm and soft and strong all at once and I love his wiry strength and the scratchy wool of his sweater and the subtle scent of his aftershave. We kiss again and again and soon I'm sliding my hands under his sweater, desperate to get closer to his skin. He draws away to look at me. "You're sure?" he asks, and I can only nod. He smiles, a real, rare, joyful smile that I've wanted to see on his face since the first time I met him all those years ago. Then he takes my hands in his, pulls me to my feet and we start walking together toward the bedroom. I'm still a little banged-up from the accident, but we'll manage something.

And tomorrow we can go look for a dog.