Title: Do You Believe in Christmas Miracles?
Disclaimer: Not mine. Sick of disclaimers. If Chris Carter doesn't know he owns them by now then he never will know!!!! However, I'm still wanting Krycek... please?? For Christmas???
Category: Holiday, DRF/slight UST
Spoilers: Audrey Pauley, mention of Monica's mysterious necklace from "Sunshine Days," not too much more... the Thanksgiving story I wrote hehehe. Mention of John's son, none of which really go in-depth however.
Author's note: I wanted to write a sequel to "Food, Football, and
Friends" that went to New Year's since I hinted at that (and a number
of people have requested a sequel) however, I had to write another
Christmas one to tie the other two together. This one is much more
serious than the Thanksgiving story... could be a Hallmark moment
even! You have been warned. Just something to think about as we all
get stressed out shopping for holiday gifts this year.
Summary: In a frenzy to finish shopping before leaving for Mexico, Monica befriends a young girl and she and John learn to appreciate what they have a lot more...
"UGH!" Monica Reyes sat at her desk in the basement office and growled.
She glanced over at her partner, John Doggett, and tried to smile. "Sorry."
"Nothing really. It's just I'm so behind on shopping and by now the malls are going to be a nightmare..."
John laughed. "And I always thought you were so prepared."
She stuck her tongue out at him. "I don't know what to get my parents this year. Or you for that matter."
"You don't have to get me anything."
"Yes I do and don't even think of arguing over it."
His heart sank, however, at the thought of her spending the holidays away from him. He knew she needed to be with her family back in Mexico but... having spent the last nine Christmas' alone he had been hoping maybe she'd stay in town with him.
"Huh? Oh, sorry, just thinking."
"You can still come to Mexico with me," she offered. "My parents would love to have you."
"Thanks," he said, half-heartedly smiling. "But I don't want to intrude and besides, it will be nice to have a peaceful break."
She nodded and looked away. "It's a standing offer if you change your mind."
"Hey, why don't you skip out for a few hours. I'll cover for you but that way you can get your shopping done."
She looked at him for a moment. For two people so opposite on some of their beliefs, they certainly clicked and worked well together... and there was nothing in the world she would trade to have it any other way. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I think you forgot you actually only have two days left. You leave the day after tomorrow."
"Argh, forgot about that. As long as you don't mind. It shouldn't take me too long." She stood up and grabbed her coat.
"Nah. If anything comes up I'll call you."
She gave him a huge smile. "You're the best, John."
He watched her leave then quietly sank back into his own misery.
Monica glanced at her watch. She had already spent three hours at the mall and still she had found nothing for her mother and for John. It was nearing five and John would be leaving the office soon. Suddenly she felt bad for having left him there all alone. Taking out her cell phone, she called the office.
"John, it's me."
"Hey! So the great shopper still lives," he teased.
"Yeah. Sorry about ditching you."
"Nothing going on here so no problem. Did you get everything?"
He laughed. "Look, Mon, really, don't worry about me. Just get your parents out of the way."
"I got Dad's. I just have no idea what to get my mom."
"You're resourceful. You'll think of something."
"I guess. I just wanted to call. I'm going to get going and try to get this done with tonight. See you tomorrow?"
It was nearing eleven at night and Monica was wandering the third mall she'd been to that day. Having lost her Christmas joy around the second mall, she was getting quite irritable. However, she was grateful she had finally found something for her mother. It was just John she was having trouble with now. She really wanted to get him something special but had no idea what. Things had changed only slightly in their relationship since spending Thanksgiving together. He hadn't tried to kiss her again and she was still mad at the microwave for stopping his attempt that day. Sighing, she entered the American Eagle store. Looking at all the sweaters, she shivered imagining John in each and every one - and he always looked good in her mind.
"Attention shoppers, we will be closing in fifteen minutes so if you could please bring your items to checkout now."
Monica sighed. A sweater seemed so impersonal yet, at the same time, she smiled imagining being wrapped in his arms with him in that sweater. Looking over the color choices quickly, she decided on a black one with a slight bit of dark gray throughout it, and proceeded to the checkout counter. The line stretched back around the store and she found herself tenth in line.
Great, she thought. I still have to wrap everything and pack, check on the airline, finish up reports tomorrow... She sighed again. Christmas was really more trouble than it was worth she began to think.
It took her a full twenty minutes to get to the front of the line. As she approached the counter, she heard soft sobbing coming from beside the counter. Upon looking, she found a young girl of maybe ten years old, staring at a man's sweater hanging on the return rack.
"Ma'am?" the clerk coaxed. "Are you ready?"
"Uh, yeah." She placed the sweater on the counter but couldn't take her eyes off the girl. "Is she alright?" she asked the clerk.
The clerk nodded. "Didn't have enough money to pay for the sweater. I still can't believe how many parents nowadays expect their young kids to pay for Christmas presents." As she rang up Monica's order, Monica walked over to the girl.
"Hi," she said.
The girl turned and faced her with bright blue eyes that shone with tears.
"What's the matter?"
The girl shook her head.
"Maybe I can help you."
The clerk had finished ringing up Monica's purchase but stood quietly as Monica talked to the girl. A few other people in line were getting agitated but they were quickly hushed by a few others who, too, were wondering.
"I don't think you can," the girl whimpered. "Only God can help and He doesn't seem to be listening."
A heart-wrenching Christmas song titled "The Christmas Shoes" suddenly played in Monica's head and she was truly hoping the girl's story wasn't going to be that bad.
The child continued. "My daddy was injured over the summer. A drunk driver slammed into his car. He's been in the hospital since and I wanted to give him something nice for Christmas."
Monica bit back tears. "Where's you mother?"
The girl looked down at the floor. "She's already in heaven."
Smiling sadly, Monica took the sweater. "Is this what you wanted to give him?"
Without a word, Monica returned to the clerk and handed her the sweater. "Add this too, please."
The clerk smiled and finished ringing up the purchases.
With bag in hand, Monica returned to the child, not realizing how many people in line were presently fighting back their own tears. "Are you here with anybody?"
She shook her head. "I walked from the hospital."
Taking the child's hand, Monica led her out of the store. "Why don't we get this wrapped up for him and I'll take you to the hospital myself. What's your name?"
"Luka." The girl grinned. "My parents were expecting a boy."
The irony of the name was not lost on Monica. Maybe she was being given a second chance at helping John's murdered son, Luke. "My name is Monica. I have wrapping paper and bows in the car, we can wrap it out there."
"Thank you so much. I know Daddy may not be awake, but I know somehow he'll know I got him something and that I'm there."
Upon arrival at the hospital, Monica followed Luka to the Intensive Care Unit. She stood in the doorway while the girl walked over to her father. It was then she realized he was in a coma and on life-support.
"Hi, Daddy. Merry Christmas." She placed the gift beside the bed. "I got you a really nice sweater. It will keep you warm for when you're able to go sledding with me again."
Tears began to fall from Monica's eyes. Here she had been so worried about everything she had to do before leaving to see her parents and had gotten fed up with the traffic and crowds at the mall and yet Luka, who apparently had no one left, had not given up hope.
"Are you a relative?"
Monica turned and faced a nurse. "Uh, no. Luka was..."
The nurse smiled. "She was at the mall again?"
Noticing the wrapped present, the nurse gave a sad smile. "I see she was finally able to get the sweater." Then she looked at Monica. "And I'm guessing you had something to do with that."
"It was the least I could do, I'm sure." She looked back at father and daughter. "How is he?"
"Been like that since they brought him in five months ago. Luka has been here everyday. The drunk who did this is already out of jail."
"Does she have any family?"
"An aunt. But she doesn't seem to want much to do with Luka. Shame really. She's such an angel. I honestly don't know what will happen to her when... if her father..."
"Is there any chance of him coming out of it?"
The nurse shook her head. "After this amount of time, we don't expect much. He may be like this for years. He didn't have a living will."
Taking out a business card, Monica handed it to the nurse. "I'm with the FBI. If there is anything at all I can do to help please let me know."
Nodding, the nurse took the card. "No child should have to spend Christmas like this." With that, she turned and went back to the nurses station.
Taking a deep breath, Monica walked into the room. "Luka?"
The child turned to her. "I know he loves the sweater I got him. I'll pay you back, I promise."
But Monica shook her head. "That's not necessary. I have to go. Do you need anything?"
Luka looked down at her father. "For him to wake up," she whispered.
"Don't lose hope," Monica quietly told her then quietly slipped out the door.
John looked at his clock. It was almost one in the morning, who in the world would be knocking on his door at that time? He opened the door and froze. Before him stood Monica in tears. Without a word, he pulled her to him and closed the door.
She didn't answer, she just kept crying.
After awhile, when her tears had begun to subside, he looked at her, cupping her face in his hands and wiped her tears with his thumbs. "Monica, what is it? You're scaring me here."
"I... I'm sorry, John. I just had to come see you."
He led her to the living room couch and sat beside her. "What happened? Is it your parents?"
"No." She looked at him. "What do you think of Christmas?"
His eyes grew wide for a brief moment at the question then he thought before answering. "When Luke was around it meant his big grin Christmas morning when he unwrapped the toy truck he had wanted but... well... it hasn't meant much for a long time. Not to me anyway. Why do you ask?"
"I met a girl tonight," she began.
By the time she finished the story, she found herself wrapped in John's arms once again. "I just wish there was something I could do for her," she whispered.
"Why don't we both go to the hospital right now and bring her back here for the night. Assuming you don't have to be home for anything tonight that is."
She looked at him and smiled then leaned over and kissed his cheek. "Thank you."
Monica stopped at the nurses station and introduced John to the nurse she had met earlier. "We, um, were wondering if it would be alright to take her back with us tonight."
The nurse studied them then, remembering Monica was an FBI agent, nodded. "Her aunt hasn't been back and she hasn't called." She looked towards the room. "And it would be good for her to get out for awhile."
John followed Monica to the room but had to stop for a moment. Memories of a time not too long ago when she had been lying in a coma after being hit by a drunk driver flooded his head.
He looked at her. "Sorry. Just..."
As if reading his thoughts, she smiled and took his hand. "I came out of it, maybe he will too." She walked over to Luka, who was sleeping with her head resting on the bed. "Luka?"
The girl slowly looked up and smiled upon seeing Monica again. "Hi."
"Hi. There's someone else I want you to meet."
John stepped forward.
"This is John. He's a close friend of mine."
He shook her hand. "It's nice to meet you, Luka."
She smiled a big, heart-melting smile. "You too. You must be special to have a friend like Monica."
John blushed but nodded in agreement.
"We were wondering if you'd like to stay with us tonight?" Monica asked. "John's only a few blocks away from here so you'll be close to your dad."
Luka looked at her father. "But what if he wakes and needs me?"
Resting a hand on her shoulder, John said, "We'll leave my number with the nurse and tell her to call if anything changes."
Luka remained silent then turned to them. "I was told not to go off with strangers but..." She smiled again. "I know I can trust you both." Leaning over her father, she kissed him on the cheek and whispered, "I'll only be gone for a short time, Daddy. They're nice people."
John reached over and squeezed Monica's hand. She looked at him and smiled.
After tucking Luka in, Monica joined John downstairs in his living room. She sat beside him and leaned against him. "I'm going to cancel Mexico."
"Mon, you have to go. It's Christmas, you should be with your family."
She looked up at him. "But what if some of my family is right here? Besides, my parents will understand." She laughed. "It wouldn't surprise me if they showed up here Christmas morning with loads of presents for Luka actually. I'll just change the flight for New Year's instead."
"She may not want to leave her father for Christmas."
"Then I'll stay at the hospital with her. John, this is important to me. You weren't the only one who spent years wondering what they could have done to protect Luke. I'm not comparing myself to you because I will never know what you went through, but in some way maybe this is something I can do."
He hugged her tightly. "Luka was right."
"Being special to have someone like you in my life. Though I think you are the special person, not me."
"I wouldn't be so sure," she whispered in his ear then pulled back. "I'm going to get some sleep. Think Kersh will mind me calling out tomorrow?"
"If he does, he'll have to mind both of us."
"John, there's no reason..."
Placing a finger on her lips, he met her eyes. "I'm just as involved as you are now. Some things are more important than a reprimand at work."
She nodded and stood up.
"Why don't you take my bed. I'll sleep on the couch tonight," he offered.
"Come on, it won't be the first time I've slept here."
She shrugged, not really up to fighting about it. "Uh... think I could borrow a t-shirt and sweatpants?"
He laughed and stood up. "Ya know, this is becoming a habit with you. First Thanksgiving, now Christmas..."
"And do I hear you complaining?" she teased.
"Nope. And you never will." He followed her up to his room where he dug out some clothes for her, grabbed a blanket and pillow for himself and was about to close the door behind him when he turned back around. "Thank you."
"For what?" she laughed. "Keeping you up all night and getting you involved with this?"
His expression remained serious when he answered, "Yes."
By the time Christmas Eve arrived, Monica had called her mother, found out she had been right and was scolded by her mom for even remotely still thinking of showing up in Mexico and leaving Luka. Kersh, in a surprisingly Christmas spirit, not only insisted John and Monica take the days off but also offered to help in any way he could with Luka's situation. After dropping Luka at the hospital, John and Monica braved the crowds of last-minute shoppers to get presents for Luka as well as a tree that they managed to decorate in record time. After a quick stop by Monica's place to pick up some of her things, they returned to the hospital around six o'clock on Christmas Eve.
"Luka, are you ready to go?" Monica asked.
She turned with tears in her eyes. "I was thinking maybe I could stay here a little longer. Just till after midnight at least. I want to be with him when Christmas arrives."
Monica looked to John and both nodded at her. "We'll be in the waiting room if you need us for anything."
Luke shook her head. "No, you can go home. Would it be alright to call you when I'm ready?"
Monica walked over and gave the girl a hug. "That would be fine. We'll be up no matter how late it is, okay?"
She nodded and took her father's hand in her own.
Quietly, John and Monica left the room, filled the on-duty nurse in, and returned to his house.
"It's not fair," Monica finally whispered upon entering his house. "No child should ever have to go through that." She looked to John. "Nor should a parent."
"No, they shouldn't."
Sitting on the couch, she sighed. "I can't believe how selfish I was a few days ago. I was so centered around what needed to be done and stuff that I never even stopped to think about those who aren't fortunate enough to have things to do."
He sat beside her, leaning forward, elbows resting on his knees. "Mon, that wasn't selfish. It happens to everyone. The difference is, you didn't ignore her, you made a difference in her life... and mine."
Shocked by his admission, she opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out.
John went upstairs and returned a moment later with a wrapped box, handing it to Monica.
She smiled. "Wait a second." She went out to her car and returned with his present and handed it to him.
"Monica, I really wasn't expecting anything."
"I know. It's not much, especially after all you've done for the last few days..."
Before she could finish, he had opened the present and was admiring the sweater. "It's great!"
"If you don't like it..."
He hugged her. "I love it, Monica." Releasing her, he said, "Your turn."
She picked up the tiny box and knew it was a jewelry box. Carefully, she unwrapped it and, for a moment, her heart skipped a beat seeing it was a ring box. Slowly she opened it and gasped.
"If you don't..."
"It's beautiful, John." Taking the ring out of the box she studied it. It was a silver band with a small heart in the middle surround by tiny crystal chips.
"It seemed to match the necklace I got you."
Slipping it on the ring finger of her right hand, she looked up at him. "It's perfect." Not worrying about reprocutions, she leaned over and softly pressed her lips to his. He was about to deepen the kiss when the phone rang. His eyes apologized as he answered the phone.
"We'll be right over."
He nodded and looked at the clock. "Merry Christmas," he grinned.
She looked at the clock too and was surprised to find it was well past midnight. Turning back to him, her eyes found his. "Merry Christmas, John."
Christmas morning found Monica and John sitting on the couch while Luka, blue eyes wide with excitement, unwrapped the presents they had gotten her. After she was done, she looked at them and apologized.
"For what?" Monica asked.
"Not getting you both anything."
Monica got down on the floor with her and hugged her. "But you did, sweetheart."
Luka broke from the embrace and shyly looked at John. "Um, I hate to ask this, but do you think you can drive me somewhere?"
"Sure. Where do you need to go?"
"Daddy and I always went to visit my mom first thing Christmas morning."
Both John and Monica swallowed the lumps that had formed in their throats.
"Of course we'll take you." He stood up. "And I know where we can get some flowers for you."
Her eyes sparkled. "I've always believed in angels," Luka said. "But I never thought I'd meet one, let alone two."
Smiling, Monica, too, stood up. "Would you like to stop by the hospital on the way over or would you rather stop after?"
"Can we do both?"
John returned to the living room with all their coats and the keys to his truck.
"Do you believe in Christmas miracles, John?" Monica asked softly after Luka had already climbed in the truck.
"I want to. I want to," he whispered back upon reaching the truck.
John and Monica rode back from dropping Luka off at the hospital in silence. Suddenly John pulled over in front of a church. Monica looked at him.
"It's Christmas," John offered. "It just seems right somehow. You can wait here if you'd like."
She smiled and took his hand. "No, you're right."
Then quietly walked through the doors. The congregation was in the middle of "Joy to the World" so they took seats in the back row.
Next, everyone sat down and the Priest stepped up to the pulpit. "I'm not going to give a message today. I think we all know the real meaning of Christmas so I'm asking that you take this time to pray for loved ones, ones who have gone before us, one who are in need, in pain, whoever needs praying for. While we are all safe and warm here and most of us have families to go to afterwards, there are many who this day are sleeping in parks, who are clinging to loved ones who are dying, who don't even know today is Christmas. We should not forget them."
John reached over and took Monica's hand and, together, they bowed their heads knowing they were praying for the same thing.
A few moments later, the lights were dimmed and candles were lit. The choir director stepped forward.
"There are many stories as to how 'Silent Night' came about however, the most popular being that in a small church in Germany in 1853 the priest panicked upon finding that a snowstorm had knocked out power to the organ. It was in the time of need he and the music leader came up with the lyrics - lyrics that seemed appropriate for not only being sung in that quiet church but also for what Christmas is truly about. Please stand and join us."
The piano and organ remained silent as the congregation began 'Silent Night.'
Everyone left the church in silence after that.
"That was beautiful, John." Monica whispered when they were in his truck.
"Yeah. It's so easy to lose sense of things with all the commercialization sometimes." Starting the truck, he asked, "Do you want to stop by the hospital again?"
She shook her head. "I think Luka needs time alone with her father."
Two hours later, they were sitting watching TV when John's phone rang.
"Hello?" He was silent then, "We'll be right over." Hanging up, he turned to Monica.
Tears had already formed in her eyes. "Her father?"
"Yeah. They didn't say anything more than we needed to get there."
Practically running to the ICU, the stopped short at the doorway.
"I think I believe in miracles now," John whispered upon seeing Luka wrapped safely in her father's arms.
A nurse walked up behind them. "I'm glad you got here. They've been asking for you." She shook her head. "I don't know how it happened but he just woke up."
Hearing the voices, Luka looked over at the door then ran over and gave Monica a hug then John before returning to her father. "Daddy, these are the people I was telling you about."
He smiled at them as they stepped in the room. "I can't thank you enough for what you've done for Luka." He held out his hand. "My name's Andrew."
After brief introduction, Andrew reached for a glass of water. "They tell me I'll be fine."
"That's great," Monica said, smiling. "Luka's been wonderful. You're lucky to have a daughter like her."
He looked at Luka. "I'm the luckiest man in the world, I think."
"She's more than welcome stay at my place until you get out of here," John offered. "Monica's leaving next week so if you're not comfortable with..."
"Nonsense. She has told me all about you and I know you can both be trusted. I appreciate the offer and if you really mean it... My sister's not much into children."
"We'd love to have her," Monica told him. "Why don't we leave you two alone. We'll be back later tonight to pick you up, Luka."
She nodded, still grinning from ear to ear. "Thank you for everything."
In the hallway, John took hold of Monica's hand to stop her from walking. "And thank you for everything." He leaned in close and softly kissed her. Not a deep, passionate kiss, but a kiss of promise of things to come.
Not sure of the exact date of the Silent Night story, but that is
the story I always heard re. the writing of the song... and darn it,
it's my favorite story re. the song!!