Monica Reyes picked up the pace after glancing at her watch. She supposed she could be considered late. However, it was the weekend and her destination wasn't compulsory or work-related, even though it related to work.She was trying to find the right diamond hosting part of the FBI Sunday Softball League. Her cell phone went off and she grabbed it, "Monica Reyes." "Turn to your left and head up about six rows." "Thanks, Dana." Monica turned and picked out Dana Scully in the stands. Within minutes Monica was scrambling past a few agents, support staff and supportive family members to reach Dana and to Monica's delight, William in his infant seat. She cooed at him, "There's my handsome young man. Hello, sweet boy." The baby cooed back as she played with his feet. Monica kept a hand on the baby and greeted his mom. "Hello Dana. Sorry, I wasn't ignoring you." "Well, technically, we've already talked and he is pretty hard to ignore since he's so gorgeous." "Speaking of gorgeous, is the FBI's best always limited to beefcake on the field?" "Tradition." Dana glanced around, "Just like it's traditional we womenfolk sit on the sidelines cheering." "Rather archaic." "I suppose, I've never really cared." "You had brothers, you must have played games." "Actually, Melissa was more a tomboy." "And yet, here you are." "I'd come sometimes to watch Mulder and I thought William would enjoy being outdoors on a nice day." Monica realized Dana was lonely and this was as close as the other agent would come to admitting it. It was part of Monica's makeup to want to fix things like that and she was already mentally trying to find a date to have Dana and William over for dinner – schedule and a lack of aliens, shape shifters and rotting corpses permitting. Their attention shifted to the field as the ump yelled, "Play ball!" Monica studied the teams on both sides and muttered, "This won't be good." Dana replied, "But it could be interesting."
It was customary for one of the Hoover Building teams to be the young Turks in the upper echelon of the Bureau. That left agents to make up the opposing teams. John Doggett was amused to find himself heavily recruited. It was rare for fellow agents to want anything to do with the lepers in the basement. He'd heard that there was precedent; the mercurial Fox Mulder had played on the team. John was surprised and fascinated by that. This was his first game this season where his team played management. That meant seeing Brad Follmer. The maggot of management didn't look comfortable in this arena. John also noticed the other bigwigs giving Follmer a wide berth. The agents were the home team and as they trotted out there were cheers. Even before he picked out Monica's voice, John knew she was there. He couldn't admit to her let alone to himself how he knew when she was around. Sensing her presence alternately settled and unnerved him. John nodded toward the stands and noticed Dana there too. John jogged to his position in center field. He started to toss the ball around with the other outfielders when he noticed Follmer standing up and staring at the stands. The Assistant Director tried to get Monica's attention. It was futile because her eyes were on the field. John pounded his glove a little harder when he saw Follmer's disappointment. The first batter flied out on the first pitch to John. He could hear her cheering and kept his grin to himself. The first inning ended with three up and three down for both sides. John had paced the dugout during his team's at bat, anxious to get on the field. He watched Follmer playing third base as if it was destined to be his ticket to the director's chair. John pegged Follmer as tense, focused and not much of a rover. He stuck tightly to the base. John filed those nuggets into the back of his mind as his teammate made the inning's final out. After retrieving his glove from the bench, he glanced up at the crowd. A pair of brown eyes twinkled at him and Monica shook her head at him with a smile. He raised his eyebrows in response and wondered as he trotted to the outfield how Monica always seemed to know his thoughts. She probably didn't he decided, it was just a coincidence that their eyes caught. Brad Follmer was batting seventh. He came up with a man on base. His strut to home plate was as arrogant as his voice every time he deigned to speak to John. Time for a reality check, God willing. Turns out the deity was because the ball arced and floated toward John. He easily caught the fly ball and for good measure threw out the runner to end the inning. Brad Follmer was not amused.
William was starting to stir and Dana realized she'd have to leave to nurse him. Dana started to tell Monica that she would be stepping away to feed William when the inning ended and the sides changed. Dana watched John Doggett toss his glove down and grab a bat to stride out with purpose in his walk. She heard Monica sigh. Dana asked, "Problem?" "Not really. He just always looks so damn good, like he owns the place; however, it's not arrogant." Monica turned to Dana, "Is that even possible?" The other woman grinned. "Apparently, it is for you. I need to go feed William." "Okay, I'll watch your stuff." She glanced back at the field. "Oh, my God." "What?" They saw John weigh the bat in his hands, take a few swings and point it towards third base. "Why don't they just pull them out of their pants and measure for God's sake?" Monica's tone was exasperated. "I think this may be the weekend warrior version of that. They're just using bats instead, you should feel honored." "Well, I don't. This is supposed to be fun." "It better be, I'm not leaving to feed my child until I see how this plays out." "Well, I can tell you John played on an NYPD team and Brad Follmer couldn't find his way to Yankee Stadium." "As I said before Monica, interesting."
John finished his practice swings and moved to the plate. He heard Monica's familiar voice always tinged with a smile yell, "Get a hit, John." "Your wish is my command, milady", he thought. Before he honored Monica's request he wanted to make a point. He took the first pitch to judge timing and speed. John took a deep breath and sent the second pitch screaming towards third base. He watched as Follmer scrambled to duck and move out the way of the barely foul pitch that would have taken off his head. The agent heard a grunt as Follmer picked himself off the ground. The glare aimed at home plate didn't even register. John let the next pitch go by. Rhythmic clapping from one pair of hands in the stands steadied John for the next pitch. The bat sent it low and fast to the third base side. A quick turn and a perfectly placed glove were the only things that kept Follmer from taking one in the crotch. He misplayed the ball and John ended up at second. He deliberately kept his face expressionless. John did allow himself a glance at the bleachers. He saw Monica with William in her lap and she helped him clap for the hit. It was a very sweet sight. She was handing the baby back to Dana when the crack of the bat sent John running. It was an easy lope to third but John noticed Follmer in an almost crouch position to protect his lower half. Yeah, life was good for John Doggett. Time was called by the catcher before the next batter stepped into the box. The catcher started out to talk to the pitcher and Follmer started to join them but was waved back. That left him standing next to John. Monica groaned, "Perfect, just perfect." Next to her Dana grinned, "I love subtext." "See Dana, way back when in New York, I sort of dated Brad Follmer." "I sort of figured." "Well, he wasn't my boss at the time." "Monica, no explanation needed, we've all got those skeletons in our closet." "You're right." Monica sighed, "Of course on the X-Files they could be real skeletons in the closet and I might prefer that." William chose that moment to squeal and Dana nodded, "I agree with my son." Back at third base Follmer continued to shift side to side, pounding his glove. John simply stood there waiting. He heard Follmer take a deep breath and knew patience would be rewarded. "Uh, so , Mr. Doggett, were you trying to make a point?" "Not sure what you mean, Mr. Follmer." "Those drives toward me." "Mr. Follmer, are you accusing me of something?" "You nearly hit me." "I'd say you're giving me more credit than I deserve as a hitter, a lot of power. I should thank you for the compliment." "It seems Mr. Doggett you're trying to get my attention, send me a message." "Why Mr. Follmer if I wanted to send you a message, I'd do it from work, from right down there in our basement office." "Oh, really." The catcher from Follmer's team was heading back behind the plate. John timed his parting shot as the batter stepped back in to take a pitch. "Actually, I guess I can't send a message since for some reason we seem to always be out of Post-It Notes. Monica and I just can't seem to keep them in stock. Go figure." The crack of the bat and another ball streaked past Follmer in fair territory. John jogged home leisurely. His teammates cheered and Follmer groaned. All the noise died away for John when he looked into the stands to find Monica. She stood clapping and nodding to him. Brad brushed himself off after throwing the ball back to the pitcher. He glanced at the bleachers amazed at the easy smile on Monica's face. It was one he'd never seen. However, he knew it was dazzling and it wasn't directed at him.
Monica held William high over her head. He kicked his legs as she slowly turned in a circle. She brought him back to her hip, "I hope you liked your first game. Soon, we'll be at your first t-ball game." She glance back toward the restrooms, "Mommy will be back soon. You weren't that hungry so she's filling a bottle for later. Look William, here comes the conquering hero." John approached them with his equipment bag over his shoulder. "Hello, Agent Reyes." "Hello, Agent Doggett." Monica twinkled at him, "Great game, John." "Felt good to be back on the diamond. I wasn't sure the softball pants and gear would still fit." "Oh, they fit just fine. I'll bet it felt good, looked pretty good too." William made her laugh by putting a hand on Monica's cheek. "Don't worry, junior G-man, your day will come." "Some of the others are going for a beer, how about you and Dana?" William turned to John and leaned forward. He automatically took the baby before his mind registered that he was holding the boy. It was at once comfortable and conflicting for John. Monica felt that and her eyes carried the message to John. "I think William is saying his Mom won't let him go to a bar with all that smoke." "Oh, yeah." "How a bout a root beer instead? I told Dana I'd treat for ice cream. You can have a root beer float." She grinned at John's grimace. "Geez Monica, root beer instead of beer? I'm going to lose my guy card." "Never, John,", she inched closer to take a whiff of sweaty male and her tone changed from light and teasing to something deeper, "Not a chance." He ducked his head. "Okay then, root beer it is but no ice, straight up." "Even better, slug it down right out of a bottle." Monica laughed and John chuckled in response. William half leaned to Monica enjoying the happy vibes from two of his adults. They didn't notice Brad Follmer. He felt a stab of jealousy at the ease and familiarity. They almost looked like a family. He'd put a stop to that. The baby started to scrunch his face up in displeasure. Monica scooped him to her before he could cry. "Hey now, you're fine and when your mom is back, we're going somewhere fun." "Agent Reyes, this looks cozy." "Assistant Director Follmer." Monica acknowledged him as she instinctively tugged William closer. The same urge had John stepping nearer to her. "It was good of you to come out and help Agent Scully." "I had fun and it was a great game." Brad offered, "Well, next time I'm sure you'll see my team play better. We're still meshing." "I'm a down in the trenches type, Brad – I mean Assistant Director. I come to cheer for my fellow agents." "Hmmmm, maybe I can change your mind." Before John could growl out a response to that, Monica intervened. "Was there something we could do for you, Assistant Director?" "I thought I'd buy you a drink, maybe something to eat after I change of course." "No thank you. I already have plans " Follmer started to pull Monica aside, "I can be very persuasive." "Brad, I don't think so. I've made plans and I don't want to change them." John had had enough. "Mr. Follmer, the message is loud and clear unless you'd like Monica to write it out." "That won't be necessary Mr. Doggett. I don't have to force my company on people." Dana approached them before John could reply. "Hello, Assistant Director Follmer." "Agent Scully, your son is the image of you." "Funny, I think he looks like his father." She took the baby from Monica. "Don't you William?" Brad was very much the odd man out. "Monica, are you sure?" "I'm sure." John firmly agreed, "She's sure. We'll see you at work, Mr. Follmer." John shepherded the two women and baby away. "We have a table to find at an ice cream parlor." Monica thought they'd made it out of the verbal mine field relatively safely until Brad Follmer chuckled. She laid a hand on John's arm and felt the tension vibrating. Her placid nature steadied him along with the fact Follmer could see where Monica's hand lay. John took the high road as he took her hand and linked their fingers. "Make sure you check your inbox tomorrow Mr. Follmer. Monica and I will be requesting more Post-It notes. Just can't keep the things around. Always running out of them." Dana buried her head in her baby's hair to keep from bursting out in laughter. They moved farther away and she whispered to Monica, "Not sure what that was all about but it seems the Post-It Notes supply is the new measuring standard for whose is bigger." Monica rolled her eyes, "You have no idea." John just whistled a little tune and kicked at the dirt with a big smile on his face.
A/N I just loved Monica's crack about to Follmer about the Post It Notes. You know she would have gone right back to the basement and told John about it. He'd be indignant on her behalf because above all John respects Monica as a woman and because it was a slam at them as a team. Of course, then John realizes he can have some fun with it. At least I had fun with it.
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