Doggett opened the door quietly and saw her sitting, gazing at the man as though still not quite sure he was really there. Mulder was asleep, his hand gripping hers slightly even unconscious.
She looked over at him and gave him a tremulous smile. He walked silently around the bed in order to whisper to her. He leaned down close to her ear to make sure he didn’t disturb the sleeping agent.
“Agent Scully, you need some rest.”
“I’m sure that’s true, but it doesn’t change the fact that you should lie down for a while. Don’t make me pull my weapon on you, Agent Scully.”
That brought a slight smile to her face. “You would, wouldn’t you?”
He nodded and
gently took hold of her arm to assist her to her feet. After
a moment she allowed him to help her rise. He let go of her
immediately, she didn’t appreciate such solicitousness. She
shook her head indulgently and took a step away from the bed.
Without warning she swayed and reached toward the bed. He had her in his arms before she found a place to support herself. “That’s it. I’m taking you home.”
“I am not leaving. I appreciate your concern, Agent Doggett, but there is no way I am leaving this hospital."
He looked at her for a long moment. “Then I’ll find a bed for you here.”
She glanced over at Mulder.
“After I get you settled, I’ll sit with him. How do you think he’d feel if he knew you were . . . “
“Okay, okay.” He was right, she had to look after herself, for the baby’s sake. If someone was with him, someone she could trust, maybe she could relax.
“Come on.” He kept his arm around her, supporting her. There was an empty room just down the hall and between Doggett’s badge and her obvious pregnancy, the nurses made her comfortable.
At her insistence he returned to Mulder’s room and took her seat. After a few minutes he picked up a magazine and began flipping through it.
It didn't hold his attention and he found himself looking at the sleeping agent. He'd obviously been through torture, and being buried for months certainly hadn't helped. No wonder Scully had not given up for so long. She'd seen things - following this man around for years. What was it about this man that kept a woman like Agent Scully at his side? He was probably considered an attractive man, not now of course, but that was superficial. She wouldn't stay with a man, follow a man, because of his looks.
Scully hadn't believed Mulder's theories; he'd read enough of the files to know that. So what was it? What was it about this man that attracted a woman like Scully? What did he have? Did it matter? What she felt for this man was deep and unshakeable.
Doggett looked up as the man stirred. He laid the magazine aside and leaned forward.
Mulder turned at the movement, “Scu - “ He opened his eyes and drew back wary.
“Agent Mulder,” Doggett rose to his feet. “I’m Agent Doggett, John Doggett.” He held out his hand and carefully shook with Mulder.
“How long was I asleep?”
“About an hour.” Doggett looked down at his watch.
“Is she okay?” Concern colored his voice immediately. “There's nothing wrong with her?"
Doggett blinked, he’d seen her hadn’t he? But she’d been seated. Did Mulder even know that she was . . . well it certainly wasn’t his place to give him that kind of news.
“No, no she's fine. It . . . it’s been pretty emotional for her, finding you, realizing you were really alive.”
Mulder nodded after a moment. “Who are you?”
“I’m, uh, I was assigned to the X-Files to assist in the search for you.”
“You . . . you’re Scully’s partner?”
“No, Agent Mulder. You are Agent Scully’s partner. That’s something she never let me forget. I was assigned to find you.”
“So you won’t be working on the X-Files.” It wasn’t quite a question.
Doggett gave a shrug. Nothing had been decided yet. With Scully going on leave, if he took Kersh’s offer there would be no one assigned to the X-Files. This man would not be in any shape to handle them, especially alone.
Mulder glanced over at the door and Doggett spotted it. “Why don’t I go get Agent Scully for you?”
“If she’s resting . . . “
“I don’t think any amount of rest would do her as much good as seeing you, talking to you.”
Mulder was watching him now, looking deep inside of him it seemed. And it was a little disconcerting. Rather than comment, he headed for the door.
Mulder stared after him. The man . . . that man cared for Scully. A lot. Maybe that explained the tightness in his chest. He didn’t remember having any breathing problems earlier, when she’d been beside him.
What was taking so long? Were they talking? What . . . how did she feel about this Doggett? He’d been gone for months. Months. Was that long enough for her to find someone? Sure it was . . . if it was the right man.
How closely had they worked together? They'd probably traveled together, but if they had been looking for him . . . Before he had been taken they had become . . . close. Closer than he could even believe now. But it had been real; he refused to believe that the memories he had used to retain his sanity when he had been aware of anything besides pain, weren't real.
The sound of the door opening drew him back. She was smiling at him and he was transfixed by those blue eyes. She almost looked as though she . . . she loved him. He spotted Doggett immediately behind her, his hand on her arm, then his eyes traveled down -
The world halted in its rotation. If he had caught fire at that moment, he couldn’t have moved to put it out. Scully was pregnant. Obviously so and he’d been gone for months. The in vitro hadn’t worked, at least not with him, therefore . . . Oh God.
“I’m glad you’re awake.” She had moved to his side now, but Doggett was still at her side as though she needed his support, his arm.
“Agent Scully, I’ll be right . . . if you need anything . . . “
She nodded and Doggett moved toward the door. At the last second she turned and smiled at him. “Thank you.”
Doggett nodded and let himself out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
“How are you feeling?” She brushed the hair from his forehead.
His lips moved, but no sound emerged. His eyes returned to her stomach. Her hand came up and smoothed the fabric of her maternity top.
“It’s not very subtle is it?”
He swallowed and managed to look up at her face again. “Who . . . Who’s the father?” His voice trembled on that last word despite all of his efforts.
She was startled for a second, then smiled gently at him. “You.”
“But . . .but
the in vitro didn’t work.”
”No, it didn’t. There was a much more low tech solution to the problem.”
“Low . . . you mean . . . ?”
She smiled a little wider, her face coloring beautifully from the blush his look was causing. ”I did that?”
“Well I helped.” She countered smartly as he took her hand and drew her closer. "You weren't the only one that came, if memory serves."
"You know what night we conceived?"
"No, but when did I ever not come with you?"
“You’re . . . you’re really carrying my baby?”
She placed her free hand on his cheek. “There’s no one else in my life Mulder. You should know that by now.”
“What about . . . ?”
He patted the bed beside him and she sat. He watched every movement with awe. When her hand came up to soothe the child the look of hunger in his eyes could not be disguised.
you can touch. He is half yours.”
”He?” She nodded, her throat suddenly tight. Rather than speak, she took his hand and placed it where the baby had last moved. As though he had been waiting for his father’s touch, the child moved again and Mulder’s eyes grew even wider.
He looked up at her then and saw the tears shining in her eyes. “I’m so glad you’re home.” It was barely a whisper, but it was all she could manage.
He nodded, “I guess I really don’t have to worry about this Doggett guy.”
Her surprise was evident then. “Agent Doggett?”
“Well, “Mulder shrugged, “he tells me he’s been assigned to the X-files, and then he’s so . . . so . . . “
“What?” She squeezed his hand.
“He cares for you.”
“Agent Doggett? No, he’s been a help to me. He helped me search for you. When he found out I was pregnant, maybe some male protective thing kicked in, but that’s all it is.”
“He’s not your partner?”
She shook her head, not smiling this time.
“What about the X-Files?”
“I’m the senior agent there now. Or I was, now you’re back.”
“What about while you’re out?”
“I don’t know. Something Agent Doggett said made me think that Kersh isn’t too happy with him right now. I think Kersh was hoping that the X-Files would disappear, but Agent Doggett didn’t jump at the chance to be transferred.”
“He didn’t?” That bothered him. No one except Scully had ever wanted to stay. Why did he - if it wasn't to be with Scully, which was hard to believe, then did he want to destroy the work? If he was Kersh's boy that would make sense. Not now, Scully was still talking.
“I know he asked for some time to think about it before we . . . exhumed you.” She shuddered then and his hand tightened over hers. “Since then I’m not sure he’s had time to think about it.”
“What do you think about it?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Do you want to work with him?”
“I don’t know, Mulder, he’s awfully rigid, doesn’t grasp extreme possibilities too well. He could be a pain to have around.” She managed to keep her face impassive.
He actually relaxed at her comment. “I suppose I could use some help while you’re on leave. I’m used to that kind of trouble from hard-headed co-workers.”
She stuck her tongue out at him, then, "Mulder, he did good work. He didn't believe. He thought I was crazy most of the time, but he . . . he trusted me, at least enough to listen. He didn't get either of us killed." She looked over at the door. "He saved my life, more than once."
That raised his hackles again and he wanted to bring her back to him, not have her think about Agent Doggett. He reached for the controls of the bed and began raising the head. “Mulder, don’t. You should lie flat for a while.”
He shook his head. “I can’t sit up that well alone and you don’t look like I could pull you down on top of me that comfortably, so this is my compromise.”
“Pull me down on top of you, huh?”
“Yeah. Let’s talk about work later. I want to hear everything about you.” He pulled her into his side then, and she lifted her legs onto the bed to settle in. They had a lot to talk about.