Any Moment
by winter baby

any moment the whole world,
all I want of the world, coming down.
-Carl Phillips, "Domestic"

[ 1993 ]

The first time she sees John he's crying a little, trying hard not to let it show. She doesn't go up to him. Lets him suffer in silence and watches from afar as he pulls himself back together.

The shouting of police officers and the static of radios filling the air as she walks away from the Doggett house. Rounds the corner and can't find a clue as to how a little boy could be pulled off his bike without anyone noticing.

John follows her, eyes scanning the sidewalks too and then meeting hers. Clear blue and filled with hope that she's found something the cops haven't. Shakes her head no and feels her heart break when she sees his face fall.

She wants nothing more to tell him that everything will be all right. They'll find him.

Knows that to be a lie. Things like these don't have happy endings.


Only his second day at the New York office and already Follmer calling her "Mon." Type of guy to think that's OK, that he has the right to be so familiar with her. Overly friendly and overly confident and overly everything.

Sees right through him, but still can't help thinking he'd be good in bed. She has half a mind to find out for herself.


[ 1994 ]

The night John's divorce is finalized. A Twilight Zone marathon on TV and countless shots of tequila, with John doing twice as many as her. Comes back from the kitchen with coffee to find him passed out on her couch.

Goes to pull a blanket over him, but he grabs her arm suddenly and moves to kiss her, eyes drunk and feverish. Face pressed close to hers and she smells alcohol and aftershave.

Turns her head and backs away, hoping he won't remember this in the morning. Leaves him asleep on the couch and goes to bed not thinking of him. Not thinking at all.


It's not tender or passionate but it's more fun than she's had in a while. Giggling and flirting and kisses up and down her collarbone. Brad saying he could get fired over this and her answering, "But that's what makes it fun" while running her hand down his torso.

Rain pouring outside and her hair still wet from the mad dash back to his apartment. Soaked-through clothes flung onto the floor and them falling into bed, laughing the whole way down.


[ 1995 ]

The phone ringing and John calling from the Academy. Teases him about being the oldest cadet and asks if some of her former teachers are still there. Didn't realize how much she's missed him until she heard his voice on the other end.

Excitement in his voice about all the things he's learning, all the things they didn't teach him at the police academy. Listens with a smile plastered on her face even though he's not there to see the guilt in her eyes. Won't tell him about Brad. Can't tell him about Brad.

Says her goodbyes and goes to hang up when John suddenly says, "Monica." Waits for him to say something, but only hears him sigh. "Never mind."

Doesn't press him. Lets him go.


Brad pulling her into his office and his secretary giving her a dirty look.

Doesn't care. Wants him. Barely slams the door shut behind her before yanking off his belt. Pushes him against the desk and kisses him hard, over and over again. Desperate, and he can tell.

Brad's arm holding her back and worry in his eyes. "What's going on?"

Shakes her head and whispers, "Shut up. Shut up," before straddling him. Makes him forget with the rhythm of her body that she's crying.


[ 1999 ]

Doesn't understand why John isn't coming home. It's been four years already and she still hopes that he'll return to New York.

His answer, "Why don't you come to D.C.?"

Neither wanting to leave what they now consider home. Her not wanting to leave Brad, but John will never know that.


Hot and humid in New Orleans. Old World mysticism and heavy air that weighs down on everything, like ivy hanging off crumbling mansions. Fieldwork that fascinates her and people who are more alive than she's ever realized.

Can't bring herself to go to D.C. and face John. But couldn't stay in New York.

Brad calling but she hangs up on him. Doesn't want to hear his excuses or explanations. Always suspected he didn't play by the rules but never thought he could be that dirty.

Saxophone jazz from the street drifting in through the window. Her phone ringing again and she unhooks it. Pulls out her files and loses herself in her work.


[ 2001 ]

Can't keep John's attention long enough. Sees his gaze wandering towards the redhead sitting at the desk and wants to slap his eyes back to the file she's showing him.

Not jealous. Just wants him to realize it's pointless. The redhead in love with a man who's gone but never really gone, and not even John can compete with his memory.

Puts the file away and moves back to her desk. Waits for John to wake up.


Sees Brad walking down the halls and can't help smiling at him. Knows he's made a lot of mistakes but he's still a good man. Stops him and asks him for coffee because she thinks it's such a waste to not be friends after all that good sex.

He makes an excuse about having a meeting but takes the time to ask, "How's John?"

Doesn't answer because she knows what he means. Doesn't answer because there's nothing to say.


[ 2002 ]

John kissing her and it's not as awkward as she thought it would be. Soft lips and the Yankees game on in the background. Normal Sunday afternoon except for the accidental brushing of arms and sidelong glances.

Posada hitting a home run and somehow John's mouth finding its way onto hers. Crawling over cushions to reach each other and he whispers, "Is this weird?" Shakes her head no and pulls him onto her.

"Stay with me," he says between breathless kisses and she doesn't refuse.


Brad pulling her aside after a meeting. "Is this what you really want, Monica?"

Wonders how he knows about her and John. Wonders if anyone else knows. Brad looks sincere and maybe even a little sad. "I just wanted you to be happy."

People filling out until the conference room is empty and he kisses her. Sweetly and sadly and full of regret.

She breaks away with a sob caught in her throat and walks out of the room with his mournful taste still on her lips.


[ 2003 ]

Lies in bed, half asleep. Listens to John talk about marriage and children. Won't admit that it scares her a little, won't admit that she revels in it a little.

Practicality wins out. "This is hardly the time for children, John."

Lost in a sleepy haze but she can still feel him tense up next to her. Runs a hand over his arm reassuringly and says, "Someday, but not today. Not when it's so dangerous."

Curls up next to his body and feels his arms wrap tight around her. Hopes that he's satisfied for now. Hopes that he understands.


Dashes upstairs as soon as she hears the news, ignoring John's calls after her. Bursts into Brad's office to find him packing files into a cardboard box.

A meaningful look and his secretary stops taping up boxes to leave them alone.

An awkward silence hangs heavy in the air until she blurts out, "You were going to leave without telling me?"

Watches him wipe dust off his hands with a handkerchief. "There's nothing keeping me here, Monica."

Won't admit how much that hurts. "I was happy in New York," he explains. "And as I recall, so were you."

Doesn't answer, because that would be admitting too much. Turns around to see John standing at the doorway, waiting for her with a clenched jaw.

John takes her hand and she lets him lead her away.


Brad in New York and John still angry with her. The office upstairs empty and the tense silences in the basement.

She tells herself she knows what she wants.


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