Three Times A Lady
Deslea R. Judd
RATING: NC17 for sex.
DISCLAIMER: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
ARCHIVE: Sure, just keep my name and headers.
SPOILERS/TIMEFRAME: Set after Daemomicus (sort-of post-ep).
CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: Doggett/Fowley, references to Doggett/Reyes. Oh, don't look at me like that. Have I ever led you wrong before?
SUMMARY: Challenge fic in which Deslea takes a Season 8 character and a character who died in Season 7, puts them together in Season 9, and foreshadows Season 8's canonical Season 9 pairing, all without breaking the universe's time-space continuum. Also, Doggett gets laid.
THANKS: To Meridy, who keeps my less-than-confident Doggett muse from leading me too far astray.
MORE FIC: http://fiction.deslea.com
FEEDBACK: Love the stuff. firstname.lastname@example.org
AWARDS/ELIGIBILITY: Spooky Awards 2003 eligible.
And now that we've come to the end of our rainbow
There's something I must say out loud
You're once, twice, three times a lady
-- The Commodores, "Three Times A Lady" (1978)
"Seriously, John, how did you know?"
It was not the first time she'd asked the question, but it was the first time he didn't feel compelled to evade it. He held her gaze for a moment, sighed, and said, "An old war buddy of mine told me you were alive. Guy named Knowle Rohrer."
The name came with surprising ease. The anger, the betrayal had subsided. Whoever the guy was who tried to kill him, it wasn't really his friend - not anymore. His friend, whoever he had really been, was dead and gone.
Diana toyed with her straw. "Does Scully know?"
He shook his head. "She had a tough pregnancy. Didn't see a point in upsetting her worse."
"So she still doesn't know."
"There's no need. If you weren't legally dead-"
"Then there might be the matter of a divorce from Fox," she supplied. "Since I'm not planning on being legally undead anytime soon, we can let sleeping dogs lie." Doggett nodded. "I appreciate your discretion. And your kindness."
He thought of that night, standing on her doorstep in the rain. Scully's sobs were still ringing in his ears, and the very last thing he'd wanted to do was go and break the news to another of Mulder's women. But there was no-one else who knew about her, and duty drove him to it. Once a cop, always a cop, he supposed. It wasn't the first time he'd informed a woman she was a widow, but he thought it was probably the worst, except maybe for the time when it was one of his own men. It was kind of funny to think of it now that Mulder was alive again. But only if you didn't think about it very hard.
"You had a right to know what happened to Mulder, Diana," he said, shrugging off the memory. "Legally dead or not."
She nodded again, and motioned to the bartender for a refill. She was sleek and polished, the way she sat there like she owned the place. Nothing like the broken, shattered woman he'd met that night, or the night he had to go and tell her it had all been a mistake. Nothing like the severe woman in harsh corporate makeup on her FBI ID, either. This woman, sleek yet natural, languidly elegant, was something in between. He sensed that he was meeting the real Diana, perhaps for the very first time.
They drank in silence for a while. It was a comfortable silence. When she finally broke it, her question seemed genuinely casual. "How's the baby?"
"He's good," Doggett said, finishing his beer and nodding to the bartender for another. William was very good, aside from scaring the shit out of his mother on a daily basis. Not that Diana needed to know that. Changing the subject, he wondered, "How you doing with all that?"
She looked at him, mildly surprised. "I'm fine, John. Better than fine. You mustn't think I'm sitting around pining."
"Never figured you for the pining type."
"No, I'm not," she said. "I mean, it was a blow. But I knew a long time ago that Fox - that we -" she broke off. "Well. You'll give up a lot to stay alive."
He tried to imagine giving up his life with Barbara, back when it was still good, and he couldn't. Then again, Diana put in a decade as a double agent and was still drawing breath, so what did he know? He shrugged and said, "I suppose so."
"I'm good, John. I'm happy. Not as happy as I was with him, maybe, but happy enough. That's more than most people can say."
He grinned. "You're so fulfilled, why're you sitting by yourself in a bar at night?"
"Why are you?"
"I'm not. Right now, I'm with the most beautiful woman in the place."
She laughed. "Nice save, Agent Doggett, but you haven't answered the question."
He shifted uncomfortably. Up til then he'd been doing a nice job of forgetting about Kobold and his many choice words in the preceding days.
Diana clearly noticed his discomfort, and she took pity on him, changing the subject abruptly. "Agent Doggett," she repeated, almost to herself. "I bet she calls you that even now."
"Scully?" he said, caught off-balance by the shift in topic. "Yeah. How'd you know?"
"She did it to me, too. And Jeffrey. Long after you'd normally be on first name basis. It was weird." Doggett tensed. He glanced at her, looking for signs of malice, but there were none. She looked merely curious. A little puzzled.
He relaxed. "I know. Monica has a hard time calling me Doggett even when we're in the field. Half the time she's got a smile on her face like she's making a joke." He shrugged. "It's how she keeps people at a safe distance, I guess. Doesn't stop Monica. She's determined to break her down and make a friend out of her anyway. Might even manage it, too." He smiled to himself.
"Have you got a thing for Monica then?" There was a twinkle in Diana's eye.
"Have I got a thing for Monica?" he echoed. Between that nutcase Kobold and Diana, he was just about ready to declare his love life an X File and let the Bureau work it out, because it was sure as shit beyond him.
"That's what I said."
"A thing. What is this, junior high?"
Diana looked at him over the rim of her glass. It was meant to be a piercing gaze, he thought, but there was a smile hovering over her lips. "You're avoiding the question."
There was something about that smile that tore his defences down. She was a lot like Monica that way. He found himself smiling too. "I dunno. I had a thing for Scully, and look how that turned out." Funny how that admission came so freely. He'd have died rather than admit to it even a few weeks earlier. There had been no one incident to put an end to it. It had just run its course.
"But Scully's damaged." Protective anger flared up in him, and he looked at her, tensing again. She said, "I don't mean it like that. I am too. All of us who were caught in the old conspiracy - we're all damaged, one way or another. You don't want someone like that, John. You want someone who still knows how to reach out. Like this Monica of yours." There was that twinkle again.
He relaxed again. "You trying to pair me up here, Diana?"
She smirked into her drink. "Well, I'm so fulfilled, I just want everyone else to be, too."
"You're full of crap."
Inexplicably, this met with her approval. She shone him a crooked smile. "I like you, John."
Doggett laughed into his drink. "I like you too."
"You want to come back with me?" she wondered.
He raised his eyebrows at her. "You pickin' me up, Diana?"
Diana shrugged. "Maybe." She gave an air that suggested she honestly didn't mind whether he said yes or no. Hell, maybe she didn't.
"Thought you were trying to pair me up with Monica," he said. Stalling for time, mostly. He didn't really think Diana was out to work her way back into the game, but who the hell knew?
"Jesus, John, I wasn't suggesting we get married."
"So it's just my devastating good looks then."
"Vanity, thy name is John." She laughed again. "You're comfortable to be with. That's all."
It was an oddly disarming thing to say. He met her smile with one of his own. "All right."
She kissed him in the cab. Nothing crass, no pretense of romance either. Just a simple statement of intent, one adult on the far side of forty to another. She reminded him of Barbara, but not in the hurting way. She reminded him of good times - she reminded him of companionship.
It was a long time since he'd felt like that.
"What are you smiling at?" she wondered, taking his hand and tugging him out when the cab pulled up at her door. It was raining, and he ducked under the eaves with her. He opened his mouth to tell her, but they were inches apart, and he kissed her instead. She laughed in clear delight against him, fumbling for her keys. It occurred to him how much he'd missed the substance of a woman his own age, a woman who knew her own body and a man's and liked them both. Then the door was open and they stumbled in, and conscious thought left him.
"Oh, John," she sighed out beneath his lips, fumbling to lock the door behind her, backing up against it. Strong, firm hands pushed his jacket off his shoulders. She moaned deep in her throat when his hips brushed hers. He was hard and pressed against her, and she shivered lightly, tugging at his shirt. His hand slipped beneath her blouse and found flesh, warm and soft, then lace and the curve of her breast. She sighed again, pushing herself into his palm, then cried out when he brushed her nipple with his fingers. He kissed her behind her ear, then down her throat, unfastening her blouse ahead of him. He ran his palm over her shoulder, slipped his fingers beneath the strap of her bra and slid it down her arm. Her breast was white and soft, creamy skin beneath his lips, and he sank in to her with a sigh.
"Like that," Diana whispered, working his belt with deft fingers. "Oh, God, yes. Like that." His trousers fell into a heap at his feet, and he stepped out of his shoes and his pants. He had a faintly ridiculous vision of standing naked in his socks, so he got those off too with his feet, still exploring her with his mouth. She saw what he was doing and she made a sound of amusement, but then his hand slipped between her thighs, and she was moaning again, and he was enjoying himself too much to mind.
She tugged him up to face her. "On the couch," she said breathlessly. "I'm too damn old for this against the door shit."
"Aren't we all," he laughed, and he kissed her again, letting her lead him away.
He had her skirt unzipped by the time they reached the lounge, and it fell to her feet when they tumbled down into the cushions. He drew her panties down long shapely legs, and she kicked them off with her feet. Urgent, needy sounds fell from her lips when he traced his fingertips up the backs of her thighs, from behind her knees to darkness and warmth.
She reached for him. "I want-" she managed, trailing off into a sigh, but he stopped her.
"I'm not gonna last if you do that," he warned her. "It's been a while." He parted her thighs, spreading her open to him, and bent his head to the warmth he found there. "Besides. I want to-" but then she was straining up to meet him, and he figured she had the idea already, so he sank his mouth deep into her flesh instead.
"Oh, my God," she managed, and he thought maybe it had been for a while for her, too. Her thighs were tense, braced against him, like she was scared he was going to disappear before she was done. He took it slow. Hell, he wanted to take it slow. She tasted so damn good. Soft folds of flesh filled his mouth. Heat and sex filled his senses. Her thighs loosened, then fell open, and then she was rising up, bucking against him, crying out his name. He stayed there, his touch and his mouth growing lighter as her spasms eased off and she grew still.
He made his way up her body, and she kissed him when he reached her mouth, tasting herself on him, eager and hungry. It made him ache, made the desire spring up into new heights. He pressed himself hard against her, and she hooked one leg around his waist, urging him on. He rocked against her until he found her opening, and then he pressed into her, just a little, holding back too. She nipped at his lip, whimpering with longing. "You bastard," she managed, laughing and sighing too.
He laughed softly with her, and that was the end of his hard-won restraint. He sank deep inside her, and she drew in her breath, equal parts desire and shock. Yes, it had been a while for her as well.
"Good?" he said.
She nodded. "Really good." She wrapped her calves around his waist, holding him close, working her way up and down him. Shivering all over. Fuck, that was a turn-on, seeing her like that, needing it that bad. And it worked for him, too, because he needed it like that, short thrusts deep inside her. He couldn't have pulled out of her all the way - she felt too good in there.
"I'm not gonna last, Diana," he warned her. "It's too damn good."
"Tell me about it," she whispered, laughter rippling through her body. "Oh-" and then she was coming, clutching at his back, her body hard and still but gripping him inside, vibrations transmitted from her to him where they were joined. That was what sent him over the edge, sent him spilling over inside her with a harsh, low sigh.
"Oh, my God," she managed when he slumped against her. "That - I -"
He laughed, trembling breaths hot against her neck. "I know. You were - we were-"
They stayed there for long, companionable moments, but finally, she released him, and gently but firmly extricated herself to wash. His thoughts lingered temptingly on what it might be like to take her under the shower spray, but he didn't follow.
"So what happened to you not bein' able to reach out?" he wondered when they were dressed again and drinking coffee on the balcony. It didn't escape his notice that they never made it to her bedroom. He didn't ask to stay, and she didn't offer.
"There are a lot of ways of being damaged." A shadow flitted over her features, then lifted. "But I've learned to seize the day. At least a little."
"That why you asked me back here?"
She shrugged. "I guess. I just like you, that's all. Does it matter?"
He had to work not to betray just how much that flattered him. "You're not damaged, Diana," he said when his ego was back under some semblance of control. "Just...changed."
"Maybe," she said offhandedly, but she seemed pleased enough. "So what about you, John? Are you going to seize the day?" It took him a moment to realise that she was talking about their conversation in the bar.
He shrugged. "Monica does enough seizing for the both of us." Funny how that appealed to him in Diana, but in Monica it made him unsure. Maybe because he wasn't yet ready for what Monica had to offer. He was kind of hoping she'd wait for him, though.
Diana smiled a little, and he had the uncomfortable sense that she understood all too well. "Well, don't make her wait too long." She got to her feet and went indoors. He followed. "You want me to call you a cab?"
He took the hint. "I'll walk. It isn't far." He watched her. Eyes grave. "Am I going to see you again?"
Diana shook her head. "I like you, John, but I can't be pulled back into all that. I just can't."
He wasn't really surprised. "Okay."
She kissed him. "Seize the day, John," she said. Smiled fondly at him.
He gave her hand a final squeeze. "You too, Diana."
It was still raining when he went out onto the street, but he whistled all the way home.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for the Harem Doggett Manwhore challenge, which proposed, strictly tongue-in-cheek, that Doggett should satisfy the lusty desires of as many Other Women as possible. As always, writing sex is excruciating for me (I'm just a wilting flower underneath it all!) and I appear to be incapable of avoiding the spectre of a plot even when the challenge virtually demands it, but I hope you like it anyway. -- Deslea