DISCLAIMER: As we all know, the characters and their background belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, FOX, and a whole bunch of others I'm forgetting. I make no money from my writing and do it solely for my own entertainment.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I rarely write sequels or stories on request, but after a few people on the Scully/Reyes list asked for a follow-up, I opted to write one from Monica's POV. This piece can, basically, stand alone, but it probably makes more sense if you've read the Coming Home vignette first. Sorry for the posting delay…November was not such a good month for me. This is just a little piece of fluff, nothing earth-shattering, but hopefully something that will make you smile.
SPOILERS: seasons 8 & 9, particularly the finale.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To Coming Home.

Vignette – Homecoming
By ocean gazer


Monica Reyes stood, one hand braced on the wall beside her bedroom window, staring out into the night sky. The moon was completely full, its luminescence bathing her in a wash of pale light as she held the curtains aside with her other hand. Though she didn't turn her head to look at the clock sitting on the bedside table, she knew it was well after 3 A.M., knew by all rights she should be asleep. She was tired enough – physically and emotionally – that the bout of insomnia had caught her by surprise. Though she supposed it shouldn't have come as such a shock to her.

If anything, her last three nights of sleeplessness should have been completely predictable.

Not moving from her position, she turned her head and felt a smile curl her lips as she looked at her bed. Or, rather, looked at the woman lying in her bed, curled on her side, snuggled tightly under the blankets with only a hint of an auburn head peeking out. It still sometimes seemed like a dream that, three nights ago, Dana Scully had walked back into her life.

The woman's return hadn't been nearly as abrupt as her departure more than a year before, but it had been relatively sudden, giving Monica only a couple of weeks to prepare. The biggest thing had been clearing the caseload at work so she could take some time off to spend with Dana as they both adjusted to this new reality. She was simply thankful that John – for whatever reason – was supportive of the two of them. The man had gone above and beyond the call of partnership to help her with their always crushing workload.

But then there had been all the little things to take care of as well. There had been the thorough cleaning of the house and the clearing of space on shelves and in closets. There had been the need to buy the little necessities like extra shampoo and the certain kind of lotion she knew the other woman liked. And then, once Dana was actually here, there had been the two days of running around to get clothes and a computer and unfreeze bank accounts and deal with all the other assorted minutia that come with making any major move. Especially since Scully had left town with only the clothes on her back and the ID she had with her.

She knew Dana was literally starting over from scratch. Again.

The only saving grace that Monica could see was that she and John had been the ones who initially went into Dana's house after her sudden departure with Mulder. They'd retrieved all her relevant financial records and papers, managed to get her bank assets frozen by saying she was on indefinite undercover assignment (with a few strings pulled by both Skinner and Kersh), and grabbed a few of the knick-knacks they knew to be precious to her. They'd been lucky to get those important things out before Mrs. Scully and Bill showed up in a major fit of pique to sell everything off at an estate sale, including the house.

Between all the concrete details of getting things ready for Dana to return, and the psychological upheaval of her would-be-lover coming back to her, Monica shouldn't have been at all surprised that she was emotionally too keyed up to relax and physically too tired to sleep.

She wrested her attention away from the sleeping woman and back to the soft glow outside the window. It was hard to believe it had only been three days since she'd picked the woman up at the airport, since she stood outside the perimeter of the security checkpoints and waited to see the familiar glint of red hair. When the line of arriving passengers had thinned out to a mere trickle, she'd felt a degree of panic, wondering if Dana had somehow changed so much in the time they'd been apart that she'd failed to recognize her. But then, Scully had walked into view and she'd felt such relief that she almost couldn't speak. Oblivious to the people milling around them, she'd pulled the woman into a hard hug, never wanting to let go.

But despite that, despite the time spent together the past few days, there were times when Monica was afraid it was all just a dream. As though if she looked away for a moment and looked back, there would be no one there.

It wasn't intuition, she knew that. It was fear, plain and simple. A fear that had dogged her for over a year now: of letting her friend go and never seeing her again. But it was more than just that simple fear; it was the deeper dread that once Dana left, she wouldn't want to come back, wouldn't want Monica any more.

Despite the evidence to the contrary, she still couldn't quite banish the thought.

She snorted to herself. Ah, the irony if anyone knew that trust-your-senses-Reyes was so disconcerted by a fear that was clearly not real. But she'd lost a lot in her life, had learned the hard way that love wasn't always forever and that happily-ever-after didn't usually work out the way the fairy tales told it. Despite her innate desire to believe and to trust, she'd learned the hard way to guard her heart so it wouldn't hurt so much when it was broken.

Not, she mused as she let the curtains fall back into place, that anyone else would see her defenses or know that she was guarded. She was quite well aware that most people couldn't see the protections, that to them, she looked like she was wide open and vulnerable. There were only a handful of people who knew the difference. Dana Scully was one of them.

Monica moved away from the window, not at all surprised to see the glow of moonlight visible even against the dark green fabric of the curtains. It was rare that the sky was so clear to be able to see the full moon so clearly, and she took it as a sign of sorts. A good omen.

It wasn't that she was a practicing Wiccan or a nature-based new age spiritualist, reading deep meaning into every turn of the tide or every turn of the earth. It was just that more than once in her life, good things had happened in conjunction with being able to see the full moon. She was open-minded enough to believe in the power of symbolism – and practical enough to know the symbols were not the same for everyone.

The feeling that she'd seen a good omen shook something loose within her and she padded softly back to the bed, sliding herself carefully under the covers next to her bedmate. She felt the subtle shifting beside her, but the deep, even breathing told her that Dana was still asleep. Struck by the power of the thought she'd just had, Monica curled up behind the other woman, draped her arm across her waist, and nestled her head between sharp shoulder blades.

Normally, she would have worried about waking the woman, would have stifled her urge for contact so as to not disturb, not be a bother. But she needed to hold Dana, to have that touch to ground her in the here and now. And she'd suddenly realized that it was ok to do that, that the other woman was here, had chosen to come back and be with her. The redhead knew her quirks, understood her in a way no one had for years, and it was ok for Monica to finally take a deep breath, let her guard down, to put her needs in front for a change.

She knew her native instinct, her natural reaction, was to focus on the needs of others, to worry more about them than about herself. Part of it was her empathic abilities, the way she felt the hurts and the emotions of others very deeply – sometimes even more deeply than the people in question did. Part of it was her own inner strength, that awareness that she could often handle more burdens than the people around her. And part of it – particularly when it came to those she loved – was that her caring led her to let them be free to make their own decisions, unencumbered by what she wanted.

Pulling Dana minutely closer to her, feeling the sleepy way the woman snuggled back against her, she knew that the time had come for her to stop hiding what she needed and wanted from the relationship. She'd held her tongue when Scully left with Mulder, knowing that nothing she said would change the woman's commitment to help her partner, to see the journey through with him after everything they'd been through. She'd waited and longed and hoped, but knew the choice was not hers, not then.

But now … now Dana had come back, had made the choice to put herself on this path, had made a commitment in her own way by doing so. Monica's version of the commitment would be to not hold herself back, not automatically defer to what she thought the other woman wanted and needed. She'd held herself aloof from love for so long, had kept her walls up. Now, it was time to let them come down, to really give herself completely to this relationship.

There was no guarantee that it would last a lifetime. Nothing in life was ever certain and no path was ever set completely in stone. But if she didn't jump in with both feet, if she didn't share honestly what she needed and wanted, even if it wasn't an option, she could all but guarantee that things wouldn't last. Dana was too important to her to risk that.

Monica pulled back a little as she felt the other woman shift and flip over so that the two of them were face to face. She wasn't sure what exactly had prompted the move, and was a bit confused to find that Dana was awake … well, at least semi-awake. Sleep-fogged eyes blinked hard at her and she could read a question in them.

Her voice was soft as she answered, "It's okay. Just having a hard time sleeping."

She hadn't really expected any kind of response, other than continued drowsy blinking and a subtle drifting back to sleep. So it caught her completely by surprise when she heard the faintest of whispers, the words strangely prescient. "I'm really here and this is real."

And then she felt Dana moving closer, felt the woman snuggling into the curves of her body, felt an arm drape around her in a warm embrace. Feeling tears welling in her eyes as she received the comfort she hadn't really known she needed, she draped her arm around Dana in turn, letting herself be held, letting her needs be met. Monica took a deep breath, chasing away the tears, relaxing under the gentle albeit sleepy touch, the soothing caress of the woman's hand on her back.

This was what she'd craved, and this was what she needed. Now that she had it, she couldn't imagine how she'd managed without it.

Even at the thought, she smiled into the dark. She'd managed without it because it wasn't an option before; it wasn't something she had been able to ask for. Now, however, it was. Hearing the even breathing from beside her, she thought Dana had drifted back to sleep. So it surprised her when she heard the slow drawl of words, the fuzziness telling her that the other woman was just barely hanging on to wakefulness.

"Whatever comes next, we'll figure it out together. We'll find a way to make it work for both of us. I love you, Monica."

The burn of tears was back and she simply buried her head against Dana's neck, breathing in the smell of the woman's skin. Strange how such few words could matter so much, could be so exactly what she needed to hear. All she could manage in response was a simple, "I love you too, Dana."

It wasn't long after that when Monica felt the motion of the hand on her back stop, felt the limpness in the fingers that told her Dana was finally asleep. She simply held the woman tighter, aware of all she'd given up fourteen months ago, and aware of how grateful she was that they could have their second chance. And the comfort of the touch, of the words, began to calm her, to make her eyelids grow heavy. Her fears at bay, her subconscious needs met, her mind could finally stop spinning for a few moments, could allow her to fall asleep. She snuggled closer to the other woman, the warmth of the body next to her and the arms around her lulling her, relaxing her.

They say home is where the heart is. They also say home is where people love you and care about you.

By either measure, Monica Reyes finally felt like her house had become a home.

The End

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