THE STAIRS WHERE I KISSED YOU
Katriena Knights

"Now that is one damned happy couple."

Agent Monica Reyes smiled as John Doggett paused in the hallway, looking back at the door he'd just closed behind him. He and Reyes had just dropped off a gift for two-week-old William, son of Doggett's former partner Dana Scully.

"Yes, they are," Reyes agreed. Doggett looked puzzled by it--had looked puzzled throughout the visit. Then again, Doggett often looked puzzled when he ended up in the presence of Fox Mulder, Scully's other ex-partner, who was possibly William's father, though nobody had actually admitted that to Reyes.

Reyes, though, had found the visit inspiring. She rarely wasted time worrying about her lack of a significant other, but if she ever pursued that avenue of her life again, she knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted a man who would look at her the way Mulder looked at Scully.

Doggett shook his head again, a corner of his mouth twitching in a half-smile that seemed to acknowledge his awareness of his own puzzlement. Then he continued down the hall, Reyes trailing. She wasn't puzzled at all, but she seemed to be afflicted by an attack of the warm fuzzies.

"It's funny," Doggett went on. "I spent a lot of time with Scully. When Mulder came back--it was like she was a different person."

Reyes shrugged, still grinning her dopey grin. "Love'll do that to you."

"You know that from personal experience, do you?"

The grin faded a little. "Not really. I wish I did."

They proceeded down the steps, then Doggett stopped on the stoop. His look of puzzlement had changed to something else. Something more than a little sad. "Cute baby, though."

Everything seemed to still around him as he spoke, and his clear blue eyes suddenly clouded with memory. She was surprised when he actually put words to his feelings. "Reminds me of Luke."

Instinctively, she touched his shoulder. She'd noticed him looking at the baby, studying his small face, noticed the initial frown when Scully had unceremoniously dumped William in his lap. "You helped save that child," Reyes said gently, "more than once."

He nodded. "I know. Maybe it makes up for . . . some things. A little."

She thought he was going to continue down the stoop to the car, but to her surprise he sat down on the step. She followed suit. Might as well go with the flow. It was her specialty, after all.

"It's just . . . I mean . . . I--" He stopped, put his face in his hands a moment, then looked up at the sky. Reyes could almost feel the struggle inside him, to put words to things he barely ever thought about. She laid a hand on his back, rubbing softly between his shoulder blades.

"I know."

"No, you don't." But he looked at her with a softness in his face and she felt oddly appreciated. The clear blue of his eyes darkened and he almost smiled.

And Reyes' world turned upside down.

She had been here before, looking into those eyes, with her hand on this same man, comforting him, but more intimately. Except it hadn't been Doggett.

As she stared at him his smile faded and his brows knitted together. He was, she was certain, about to ask her if she was all right, when she moved forward and kissed him.

And she'd done this before, too. As her mouth moved softly against his, she flashed on a memory, a memory she couldn't possibly have, of him over her, touching her, taking everything she had to give him.

He kissed her back, but only for a moment before he pushed away. She couldn't help grinning at his expression. He was looking at her like she'd grown an extra head.

"What the hell was that?" he said.

"I'm sorry." She laughed and he stared at her. He was starting to look positively constipated.

"You're _sorry_?"

"It just seemed like the thing to do at the time." She touched his shoulder and he flinched away, as if he was scared to death she might kiss him again.

"Agent Reyes, we're _partners_. We _work together_."

She smiled. "So were they."

She hadn't thought he could look any more appalled. She'd been wrong. He stood, still staring at her, then shook his head and started down the stairs to the car. Reyes took a long look at the huge sweep of stars overhead, then followed him.

"This has happened before, you know."

He spun on his heel so fast she thought he was going to fall over. "Excuse me?"

"We've been . . . together." She'd caught up to him by now. He stopped next to the car.

"Not to my knowledge."

"I don't mean recently."

"I still think I would remember."

"I'll take that as a compliment. But what I mean is, not in this life."

He gave a skeptical snort. "Okay. Whatever you need to tell yourself."

"You don't feel it? The déjà vu thing?"

"Agent Reyes, right now I feel a little angry and a little confused, but I do not feel any . . . déjà vu thing."

"You will."

Shaking his head, he walked around the car and unlocked the driver's door. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Agent Doggett, you drove me here. I need a ride home."

He rolled his eyes as he got in the car, but reached across to unlock her door. As she buckled up, she felt his gaze on her. "What?"

"Another life, huh?"

"That's right."

He shook his head and started the car. "You're weirder than Mulder."

She grinned smugly. "Thank you."

As he pulled out into the street, she reflected that it was probably too early to ask him back to her place. But, from what she'd seen, that past life had been interesting. Maybe this one would be, too.

END.