Dumb Luck

by Lara Means

TITLE: Dumb Luck
AUTHOR: Lara Means
E-MAIL: larameansxf@earthlink.net
WEBSITE: http://larameansxf.tripod.com CLASSIFICATION: V; post-ep
RATING: PG
ARCHIVE: NO to Gossamer, Spookys; I'll submit directly to both. YES to Ephemeral. YES to mailing list auto-archives. Anywhere else, please ASK. I'll say yes; I just like to know where the kids are at the end of the day.
FEEDBACK: Please? (note new e-mail addy) DATE POSTED: 08/14/03 on the Lyric Wheel board; posted wide 01/12/04

DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. Heck, I don't even own my name. It all belongs to 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.

SPOILERS: Underneath.

SUMMARY: "Bad blood and ghosts wrapped tight around me..." Bob Fassl's legacy.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for the 13th X-Files Lyric Wheel, the Wheel of Fortune. Thanks to Marcia for the lyrics, which can be found at the end. Extreme thanks to carol, who helped me massage it until it felt right.

This may be the only post-ep fic out there for "Underneath." It's certainly the only one to be archived at XFMU.


DUMB LUCK
written by Lara Means

In the cold, wet tunnels underneath the New York countryside, John Doggett watches silently as Bob Fassl's remains are zipped into a body bag and carried away.

Next to him, his partner watches him. Assesses him, his reactions. And the longer his silence stretches, the greater Monica Reyes's concern.

"John...?"

"I've been forty-eight hours without sleep. I found out my expartner' s a liar, a felon. Don't ask me to explain how this could be." He continues to stare off in the direction they took Fassl. Reyes steps closer to him.

"So what happened tonight? All that was just you seeing things?"

"I can't accept this. If you can, God love you, but it's not the way my mind works." He still doesn't look at her.

"You closed this case. This time around, that was enough."

Finally, Doggett turns to face her. Exhaustion mingles with confusion on his face and in his mind, and he shakes his head in an effort to dislodge them.

"What happens next time?" he whispers.


She takes the car keys from him and drives them back to their motel. It's a testament to his fatigue and his aching shoulder, where the killer stabbed him with a screwdriver, that he gives them up without a fuss.

Monica sees him to his room, next to hers. She opens his door and gently pushes him inside.

He turns to look at her, weary, spent. She gives him a little smile.

"You did good work, John. Tonight, and thirteen years ago."

He just shrugs.

"Get some sleep," she tells him, and pulls the door closed.

In her own room, Monica takes a long, hot shower to wash the stench of the fetid water from her hair, her skin. She tries to wash away the night's events too, but they keep coming back.

The bearded man stabbing John, holding the bloody screwdriver to his throat. His reactions when she called him Bob Fassl and detailed his sins.

John turning over Bob Fassl's body in the water -- when they both had seen her shoot the bearded man.

That's what seems to be in the forefront of her mind tonight -- John's steadfast refusal to believe what was right in front of him, to acknowledge that her theory made some kind of sense. She doesn't usually let it bother her -- that's just the way John is, the way his mind works. But his attacks on her theories don't usually feel as personal as they did tonight.

He's tired, she tells herself for the umpteenth time. He didn't mean it.

Lately, it's getting harder and harder to convince herself.


She's been asleep for about an hour when he knocks on her door.

She had expected him earlier.

"John?" she asks, looking into blue eyes that are red-rimmed and puffy with fatigue.

"Can't sleep," he murmurs, and she steps back to let him in.

"Is it your shoulder?" Monica asks as she guides him to the bed. She reaches out to touch it and he flinches.

"Tetanus shot hurt worse," he tells her, settling cross-legged on the bed. She sits opposite him, their knees almost touching. Neither of them says anything.

Finally, after an eternity, he looks at her.

"I wasn't completely honest before." Monica says nothing, just cocks her head to encourage him to go on. "I said it was meat and potatoes police work that caught Fassl the first time." He gives his head a little shake. "Wasn't. It was just dumb luck."

"Luck," she repeats, without inflection but with a half-smile.

"We had no leads, damn little physical evidence except for the victims. Everybody, from the top brass on down, knew we'd need a stroke of luck or a gift from God to catch this guy." He swallows hard, closes his eyes. "If Duke and I hadn't been in the area when the 9-1-1 came in... who knows how many more people would've died."

"And you think that was luck."

John opens his eyes, looks at her earnestly. "Don't you?"

Monica shakes her head. "I don't believe in luck. Not in the sense of random occurrences, things that happen for no reason." She smiles at him. "Everything happens for a reason, John."

"You mean, like, fate?"

"If you want to call it that," she answers with a shrug.

"What do you call it?"

"An ordered universe. Certain things are meant to be."

"So, Duke and me, we were meant to catch him in '88?"

She nods. "And you and I were meant to catch him again in 2001. How else can you explain the fact that we both thought it was a good idea to sit outside Jana Fain's house tonight, when we haven't agreed on anything else since we got here? Under any other belief system, that course of action just doesn't make any sense."

Her statement hangs between them, both of them flashing on their earlier argument. Neither of them chooses to address it for the moment.

"More people had to die," John says quietly. "Is that part of your 'ordered universe'?"

"It happens that way sometimes."

"And you can live with that."

"There's no living with it or not. You just accept it and move on." He shakes his head. "I know," she says, "that's not the way your mind works. And that's one of the things that makes us good partners."

"Are we, Monica? 'Cause sometimes I feel like we're just pulling in opposite directions."

She reaches out, takes his hand. "Well, we don't yet have that finely calibrated balance of Skeptic and Believer like Mulder and Scully... but we complement each other nicely."

He studies their joined hands. "You're always so sure of yourself," he whispers. "You believe in..." He shakes his head again. "You believe. Without a doubt."

"No, John," she says. "Not without doubt."

He searches her eyes and sees the truth in her words. That she doubts sometimes. He nods. Then, softly... "I'm sorry I yelled at you."

Monica smiles, squeezes his hand. "Thank you."

John returns the smile, the squeeze. They stay that way for a while, until his fatigue betrays him with a face-splitting yawn -- and she bursts out laughing.

"C'mon, stretch out," she tells him, coming up on her knees.

"Monica, I'm not kicking you out of your bed," he protests even as he lays down.

"Who said anything about kicking me out?"

She settles next to him, spooned up against his side, their hands still clasped. He hesitates for a moment, then turns slightly so his back is to her. She snuggles in closer, and he draws their hands to his chest. With a deep, exhausted sigh, he closes his eyes.

She's certain he's finally drifted off to sleep when he murmurs, "No such thing as luck, huh?"

"Nope," she whispers.

"Is there such a thing as getting lucky?"

She smiles in the darkness. "Maybe."

"We should investigate. Sure sounds like an unexplained phenomenon to me."

Eyes still closed, he brings their linked hands to his lips and presses a gentle kiss to her knuckles. She returns the gesture, her lips to his wounded shoulder.

Finally, sleep pulls them underneath.

END


"A Stroke of Luck" -- Garbage

Hanging by threads of palest silver
I could have stayed that way forever
Bad blood and ghosts wrapped tight around me Nothing could ever seem to touch me

I lose what I love most
Did you know I was lost until you found me?

A stroke of luck or a gift from God?
The hand of fate or devil's claws?
From below or saints above?
You came to me

Here comes the cold again
I feel it closing in
It's falling down and
All around me falling

You say that you'll be there to catch me Or will you only try to trap me
These are the rules I make
Our chains were meant to break
You'll never change me

Here comes the cold again
I feel it closing in
You're falling down and
All around me falling

Stroke of luck or a gift from God?
Hand of fate or devil's claws?
From below or saints above?
You come to me now

Don't ask me why
Don't even try

A stroke of luck or a gift from God?
The hand of fate or devil's claws?
From below or saints above?
You came to me

Here comes the cold again
I feel it closing in
It's falling down and
All around me falling

Falling, falling
Falling, falling
Falling, falling


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