Title: Refuge
Fandom: X-Files
Pairing: Doggett/Scully
Warning: Happy Land of Denial
Rating: NSFW
Summary: Scully seeks a safe place, and finds it.

She had started coming to him while Mulder was dead. Safe places were harder and harder for Scully to find, but Doggett’s house, with its garden, shelves of books, and masculine scents became one of her favorites—and the most surprising. At first she sat stiffly on his sofa, drinking skim milk and nodding as he tried to entertain her, until one day she came over while he was working on his car. He offered to stop, see her inside, but she said, “No, go on. I’ll watch.” He pulled a lawn chair from the back yard for her to sit, and she dozed in the sunshine and listened to his tinkering and humming to the radio, and the faint buzzing of bees in the hedge.

After that they were much more relaxed. She never could pinpoint what it was about him that felt so good, only that he accepted what she had to give and asked little more. He wanted her honesty and her friendship, and gave her his strength and his gentleness. My friend Doggett, she often found herself thinking, and it made her smile.

Then Mulder was found alive and her safe place became wherever he was. Scully often thought of Doggett’s soft couch and chipped mugs, his orderly house and quiet smile, but Mulder was always there, larger than life, warm and essential, and she couldn’t divide her attention for long.

When he left again Scully thought it would kill her. She knew it was the right thing to do, she knew he was trying to protect not just her and William but everyone, all of humanity, everywhere. It still left her with an ache she thought would never stop hurting, deep in her chest where her heart used to be.

It was a bashful and uncertain Scully that showed up on Doggett’s doorstep after just a few nights, the baby in her arms, herself poised to flee if Doggett showed the slightest bit of anger, the smallest moment of blame. Still, she rang the bell, and kissed William’s head while she waited.

Doggett’s face barely showed surprise when he opened the door. “Can I—” she began, but before she could speak another word the tears were choking her and Doggett had his arm around her shoulders, her forehead against his chest.

“Of course,” he said softly. “Of course.”


What had terrified her became routine. She slept at Doggett’s house so often he cleared out a drawer for her and built a crib for William. She borrowed a certain t-shirt so much he finally said, “Keep it. It’s yours now.” Again and again she said, “I can take the couch,” and he always replied, “You’re the guest. I’m fine here.” She didn’t know what to do to thank him: he would come home to find her gone but dinner ready to be cooked, his shirts ironed, his sheets changed. His house, she noticed, began to smell like hers, of baby lotion and milk. William had a particular squeal he would use when he saw someone he knew, and began to use it whenever Doggett came near.

Once she said, as she watched Doggett play with William on a blanket spread on the floor, “You could come to my place sometime. If you needed to.”

He glanced up at her. A muscle twitched in his temple. “No. But thanks.”

She wanted to ask him why but something about his suddenly stern face stopped her. His home was her refuge—she had no idea what hers might be to him.


Doggett knew to expect her on stormy nights, and had hot cocoa warming when she let herself in. “Hey,” she said softly, lingering by the back door.

“Hey.” He came to her and took William, kissed the baby and kissed her cheek. “Are you okay?” It was always more than a perfunctory question: his eyes searched hers for any hint she’d tell him less than the truth.

So she tried to smile and stroked William’s head, and said, “You know what thunder does to me.”

“Yeah. I do. How as the drive?”

“Nerve-wracking.” She watched the way William lay his head on Doggett’s shoulder, his fingers into his mouth, and the easy curve of Doggett’s arm around William’s small body. She sighed. If Mulder came home tomorrow, she thought, William would have no idea who he is.

Doggett hugged her briefly with his other arm and gave back the baby. “Cocoa’ll be ready in a second. I bet you’d like popcorn, too.”

“You spoil me,” Scully said, knowing he would make popcorn anyway and even let her choose the movie. He would bottle-feed William and walk around the living room with him, patting his back until the baby belched. He would sing James Taylor to lull the baby to sleep, his voice whisper-soft and most of the words lost in a murmur. He would come back downstairs when William was asleep in the crib and sit beside Scully, and smile at her helplessly. And she would stroke his hair until he, too, was asleep, and she would cover him with the spare blanket and lie down in the big bed upstairs and try to sleep herself.

And she would think about the love he poured out for her son and wonder what it was like for him to love *her* that way.


The evening went as expected. Tonight’s choice of lullaby was “Fire and Rain.” The movie was a screwball comedy: Katharine Hepburn tried to win Cary Grant’s heart while they searched for a rare dinosaur bone. The baby was not fussy and went to sleep quickly, snug in his footed pajamas.

But instead of joining her on the sofa as he usually did, Doggett stood by her a moment, then said, “I’m going downstairs. Holler if you need anything.” He turned abruptly and went through a door in the kitchen to his basement.

Scully looked after him a moment. She had never seen his basement: he described it as a workshop and she had no interest in power tools. She expected to hear whirring and grinding, but after several minutes of listening there was only silence from downstairs and the muffled sound of rain.

Scully rose from the couch. She had already changed into her pajamas, the grey t-shirt with a faded USMC logo he had given her, and flannel pants that had also somehow ended up in her drawer more often than his. He expected, she thought, for her to go to bed and ignore that he was restless.

But, she also thought, he was unaware that he was Her Friend Doggett, and she couldn’t let her friends be unhappy.

She opened the door to the basement and slipped down the stairs. There was a sound of fists hitting a punching bag in a rapid cadence. When she reached the bottom steps she could see Doggett, shirtless, dripping sweat, his knuckles wrapped with tape, hitting the bag as if he were in a prize fight.

Scully sat on a lower step and pulled up her legs, and wrapped her arms around her knees. His back was to her, so in the light of the lone overhead bulb she could see the muscles work in his shoulders and arms, the tightness of his stance, the power of his body that she had been so rarely privileged to see.

Thoughtful, Scully bit her thumbnail. Maybe it was his familiarity—Doggett was, after all, much like most of the quiet, strong, solid citizenry of her family, the policemen and firefighters, the sailors and soldiers that were her male relatives.

Maybe, she thought, tilting her head to the side, he felt like home because he *was* home.

Finally Doggett’s furious workout ended and he stilled the punching bag, breathing heavily. He stood for a moment, his head bent, then as if he suddenly sensed her presence he turned to look at her. His face was flushed and sheened with sweat. His sweat pants were tied low on his hips, revealing the dark hair leading down his belly and the bones of his pelvis.

“Your workshop?” Scully said.

“Among other things.” He picked at the tape on his hand.

“I thought you usually rode for exercise.”

“Hard to ride a bike in the rain.”

“Can I try?” She nodded to the punching bag.

He nodded and shrugged. “Let me tape your hands so you don’t hurt yourself.”

She stood and walked to him, and let him wrap the tape around her knuckles. The room smelled like sawdust. Tools hung neatly on the wall. Doggett had put down blue mats on the floor beneath the punching bag, and they were springy and soft under Scully’s feet.

When she was r
eady Doggett backed away a few feet and crossed his arms over his chest. Scully glanced at him, blew some hair out of her eyes, and began to pummel the bag with quick, fierce punches.

After several minutes Doggett said dryly, “It helps to imagine it’s someone you’d like to whale on.”

Scully paused, stilling the bag, and looked at him. “You want me to say it’s Mulder.”

“Never said that.”

“I’m not angry at Mulder.”

Doggett grunted. “I don’t wanna argue about Mulder. I don’t even want to talk about him anymore. You gonna finish with that,” he nodded to the bag, “or do you wanna do something else?”

“Like what?”

He shrugged. “We’re both here. You’ll be back in the field soon. You could probably use a refresher on self-defense techniques. I promise not to hurt you,” he added with a smirk.

Scully raised an eyebrow. She never could resist a challenge, particularly one involving throwing Doggett around a little. “Okay,” she said, “I promise not to hurt you either.”

He actually laughed as he unfolded another blue mat and spread it on the floor. “I’d like to see that,” he muttered, and faced her. “Come on. Show me what you’ve got.”

Scully smiled back, and charged him.

Sure, he had at least six inches on her, maybe forty or fifty pounds, larger hands and stronger arms, but his mistake was thinking she’d let herself go soft. He was on his back in under a minute, gasping, and Scully had to gloat: “You were saying?”

“Huh,” he said and rolled to his feet. “Caught me off guard.”

“Sure.” They circled each other. “I know it may have seemed sometimes that pregnancy made me stupid, but I assure you it was only temporary.”

“Never said you were stupid.” He lunged, grasped her. Their faces were breaths apart. “Just—you’re so—tiny—”

She wrapped her leg around his that bore his weight and yanked, and again Doggett went down. She pushed her hair out of her eyes. “I never took you for someone to judge by appearances.”

“A suspect’s not gonna sit down and chat with you, Agent Scully.” Again he got to his feet, breathing a little heavier than before. “He’s gonna see you, all soft and little, and see you as vulnerable, as an easy takedown.”

“I know how they see me,” Scully said quietly. Like wolves marking their territory they circled each other, close enough to smell each other’s scent. “I know what I appear to be.”

He was lithe and quick, moving faster than she expected. He feinted left and wrapped his arms around her from behind, trapping her. “Then you gotta be sure you’re more than what you appear to be,” he whispered.

Scully struggled, resisting his grip. His chest felt damp through her shirt. Their feet entangled—she pulled his ankle—they both went down, Doggett mostly beneath her. They wrestled, his upper body strength against the strength of her legs. Finally Scully pressed him against the mat. She framed his body between her knees and planted her hands on either side of his head. “Three for three,” she said, panting. “I’d say I won.”

Doggett grasped her forearms but said nothing. His expressive eyes were dark, unreadable as a lost language. His mouth might have been soldered shut for all the information it was giving her.

But his body spoke to her. The rapid rise and fall of his chest, the pulse beating in his throat, his deep swallow. Scully knew if she let her body rest against his any more she’d feel proof of his desire—or disproof, which was why she hesitated. There were few things worse, she thought, than writhing all over a guy who just wasn’t interested.

A drop of perspiration made its way from her forehead to her nose as they stared each other down. It hung on the end of her nose a moment, then fell onto Doggett’s lower lip.

His tongue flicked out and tasted it. He inhaled, his eyes closing, and let his breath out with a shudder. His eyes met hers again.

Still holding his gaze, Scully dipped her head and licked a drop of sweat near his nipple. Doggett’s hands clenched her forearms more tightly for a second, then he let her go.

“Go to bed, Agent Scully. It’s late.”

“No,” she said, not letting him look away. She spread her knees a little further, bringing her body to rest fully against his. He moaned, which confirmed everything she felt from him: the heat, the longing, the need. “We’ve known each other almost two years. Don’t you think it’s time you stopped calling me ‘agent’?”

He moaned again, his eyes rolling back, his hands sliding up and down her arms as if he couldn’t touch her further.

His mouth could be tight-lipped, harsh, firm as if carved from granite—but at this moment it looked soft and famished, needing nourishment, needing to be fed. Scully brought her face as close to his as she could without touching him. “John,” she whispered, and he cried out as if he were already inside her.

“Dana.” His hands splayed over her back. “Dana.” His mouth searched for her lips. “Dana.” He shook as she kissed him, his fingertips tracing the bones in her back and counting her ribs. “Dana,” he whispered as he tried to turn her beneath him.

“No.” She pressed him back against the mat. She kissed him hard. “Let me.”

With obvious uncertainty he nodded, and she wondered if he had so little faith in her that he thought she only teased. She kissed his brow and smoothed it with her fingertips. “Let me,” she whispered again. “Let me touch you. Let me kiss you. Let me love you, John.”

“Oh, God,” he murmured. When she kissed him again she pressed the tip of her tongue against his lips, and his lips parted in an instant. His tongue traced the sides of hers, inviting her in. The quiet basement echoed with the wet sounds of their kiss.

“Touch me,” Scully whispered when she lifted her mouth. She kissed his cheek and his forehead. “It’s all right. I want you to.”

At this he lifted his hands from her back, hesitated, and cupped her breasts. Scully let her forehead rest against his a moment, surprised at how this simple touch could stir her so. His hands were enormous, warm, kneading and squeezing her breasts like he’d never touched such things before. Scully arched above him and looked into his face, which was furrowed with concentration. Their eyes met and he gave her a hesitant smile.

She smiled back and kissed him again. This time as they kissed his hands slid over her, measuring the span of her waist, tracing her collarbones, cupping her ass to pull her closer. The heat of his erection against her belly made her moan aloud. She wrapped her arms around his head and glided her body against his, kissing and kissing him, not wanting to stop.

His hands moved down her legs to her knees. He pulled her forward a little, and then carefully, not breaking their kiss, sat them both upright. She now straddled his lap—it was not a terribly comfortable position, and she held onto his shoulders as she rearranged her legs to wrap them around his waist. Now she could touch him more easily and did so, from his surprisingly soft hair to the supple, bunching muscles in his back. His stomach fluttered when she drifted her fingers over it.

Doggett took his mouth from hers and grasped her chin in his hand. “I want you,” he said, and his voice, gravelly under the most innocuous of circumstances, rasped over her skin. She shivered with pleasure.

“Yes,” she said and leaned forward to kiss him again.

He stopped her, staring into her eyes. “I’m serious.”

“I know you are. So am I.” She took his hand from her chin and pressed it between her legs, so he could feel her gathering wetness through her flannel pants. He moved his fingers against her and she moaned, grabbed his other hand and held it to her breast. Her nipples were hard almost to the point of pain, poking at the thin cotton. Doggett palmed her breast and his fingers rubbed slowly between her legs, looking into her eyes like he was daring her to look away.

Time to up the ante, Scully thought, and slid her hands down his ch
est to the waistband of his pants. The knot came undone easily. When she slipped her hand inside Doggett inhaled with a shudder but still kept his eyes open, and smiled at her a little. She smiled back and wrapped her fingers around his cock. “Mm,” she whispered. “This feels friendly.”

A laugh startled out of him and he shook his head. “Woman . . .”

“Glad you’ve noticed,” Scully said and kissed his mouth. He held her head in his hand and moved his other beneath the hem of her shirt. His fingertips lightly tickled her stomach and then explored downward, through the crisp hair that covered her mound and finally—finally! Scully thought with a slight moan—between her outer lips and into her slick waiting heat.

“God,” Doggett murmured.

“Mm,” Scully agreed. They were tangled up in arms and clothes, and she thought, If we’re really going to do this I’d rather do it naked.

She pulled her hand from his sweats and Doggett made a wounded sound. “Clothes,” she said. “Off.”

“Oh.” His hand left her and she whimpered too, but all the better to strip you, my dear. She yanked the t-shirt over her head and tossed it aside, barely before Doggett’s waiting hands could encompass her again. He kissed her breasts, tongued her nipple into his mouth. He sucked her breasts until Scully thought she might come from this alone, and she cried out with frustration when he lifted his mouth.

“Off, you said.” He lifted her from his lap and lay her on her back, and pulled the tie that held up her pants.

“Off,” she confirmed. She caressed his hair while he slid her pants and underwear down her legs, and clutched at him tightly when he moved to kneel between her thighs, his head level with her mound.

“Let me,” he said. His eyes were shining.

“Oh, yes,” Scully whispered and hooked her legs over his shoulders. “Yes, please.” She thought his tongue might be tired from their kisses but it became clear in a moment this was not so. His evening beard scraped her skin. He gripped her thighs tightly and licked her clitoris with sure, gentle movements until Scully was writhing, her nails digging into his scalp. Then his movements were not so gentle, a rougher touch to bring her closer, send her up higher, stopping for a moment just before she reached the crescendo and then starting up again—”Oh!” she cried, and it seemed the light from the lone bulb flared, unbearably bright. “Oh . . .”

Doggett pulled away from her, still on his knees. There was nothing in his face to tell her what he wanted, only his heaving chest and the bulge on his sweat pants. His hands rested, twitching a little, on his thighs. “Well?” His voice was rough.

“More,” Scully said, getting onto her knees too. Undressing him was easy: up, pants off, down again, his arms around her and his lips claiming hers in a bruising kiss. She wound her arms around his neck.

She couldn’t wait anymore, just couldn’t—had to have him, all of him, tongue, fingers, cock, especially cock, especially cock right fucking now—

At least this time she didn’t have to fight him to get him on his back. His gaze burned into her as she lined up her hips to his. He gripped her hips loosely. She caressed his cheek and leaned over to kiss him, surprised at her own gentleness when the rest of her body felt ready to frenzy, then straightened up again and down, down hard, knocking the wind out of them both.

“God,” Doggett murmured again. His eyes closed. “Holeeee . . . God . . .”

Scully could say nothing, rocking over him. He felt so good it was almost like pain, the burning stretching filling of him. She didn’t even want to start riding him—she wanted to just stay here, feeling this completeness from her vagina to her fingertips and toes.

Her body knew better. Her body knew what he needed, what she needed. Down hard, up just enough, clench around him tight—ah, yes—”Dana,” he groaned and sat up, dragging her close enough to kiss. He kissed her face and her mouth, her neck and her mouth, her shoulders and her mouth. They found their rhythm, fast and hard, sending the sounds of flesh on flesh bouncing against the  walls. Scully thought for a moment the mats might not be washable but then her nipple was in his mouth again and all conscious thought fled beyond Oh God I love his mouth and Please don’t ever stop fucking me, John—

She couldn’t control herself, couldn’t stop herself. One moment she was pumping her hips frantically to his responding thrusts, the next she was falling away from him, boneless, gasping, the world graying out. Dimly she heard him say, “Dana?” and he pulled out of her. “Dana?” He raised her back up and cradled her in his arms. “Dana? Speak to me, honey.”

“‘m okay,” she mumbled and touched his chest to prove it.

Doggett gave a shaking laugh. “For a second I thought—damn, I don’t know what I thought.” He kissed her hair. He panted for breath and she expected him to lay her down and finish his own climax, but instead he only went on holding her and kissing her like she’d awoken from a nightmare.

As nice as it was, it felt unfair. She wasn’t selfish. “John . . . love . . . I want you to come.”

He moaned at her bluntness and his arms tightened around her. “You’re not well, honey.”

“I forgot to breathe, that’s all. Happens sometimes.” She stroked his neck. “Do you want to finish fucking me or would you rather I blow you?”

A strange expression crossed his face. “Decisions, decisions,” he murmured, and eased her down so her legs were still wrapped around his waist and her shoulders were against the mat. He traced her lower lip with his thumb, and then slid his hands down her sides to her hips. He rose onto his knees and Scully grabbed hold of his shoulders, her breath already quickening with anticipation. He let go of her hip and took his cock in his hand, and teased her opening with the tip. “Don’t forget to breathe this time,” he murmured and pushed into her.

I am going to be so sore tomorrow, Scully thought, but she didn’t care. She wondered if it might be due to adrenaline from his workout earlier, or from their wrestling match after that, or maybe what she’d taken for friendly concern was something much, much more—whatever it was, John Doggett was fucking her like his life depended on it, like there was nothing more important to him, nothing else that deserved his attention or devotion.

His eyes stared down into hers, their usual electric blue darkened to the color of a night sky. Soft grunts came from his throat. Her sweat-slick back slid across the mats from the force of his body. He followed her and finally trapped her in place with his hands flat by her head before she could slide off the mat entirely and onto the bare concrete floor.

There was something to be said, she thought, for a man who kept himself in good physical condition. As hard and fast as he pounded into her, as heavily as he breathed, as loudly as he moaned, he seemed intent on giving it to her good, on making her come a third time and perhaps a fourth. His mouth, his tongue, was everywhere he could reach: breasts, stomach, shoulders, ears, neck. He grabbed her hands and held them, palm-to-palm, down to the mat by her head, pulling her breasts tight against her chest. She couldn’t stop moaning his name.

Doggett’s head nestled itself against her neck as he sucked almost angrily on the sensitive skin just above her artery. Scully wanted his mouth—wanted his kisses—she turned her head and captured his ear in his mouth.

Of all things, this set him off. His body stiffened for a moment, thrust frantically for a moment more, and he came with a bellow and slumped against her.

A clap of thunder sounded, so loud it rattled the windows, and Scully heard the baby’s frightened wails from upstairs. “William,” she whispered.

Wordlessly Doggett rolled off her body and lay on his back, his eyes focused on the ceiling. Scully got to her feet. Not wild about walking through his house naked, she scooped up her t
-shirt and pulled it over her head. “I’ll be just a few minutes, I’m sure,” she said.

“I’ll come upstairs,” he said quietly, not looking at her.

“All right.” She paused, watching him, wanting some acknowledgment of what had happened between them besides his cooling body, but he only continued staring at the ceiling and her baby was crying.


When she had soothed William and put his back in his crib, Scully cleaned herself up and climbed into bed, wondering why Doggett wasn’t there already. She hesitated, then shrugged and took off the t-shirt again and put it aside. She hadn’t slept nude in his bed before, and she liked the feel of his soft cotton sheets against her skin. The rain tapped soothingly against the windows, and Scully curled up on her side and pillowed her head on her arm. He would come, she was certain. He would slip into bed beside her, kiss her, pull her into his arms.

I want my lover, she thought, and smiled.


She must have dozed off: she awoke, startled, when Doggett turned off the small bedside lamp. “John?”

“Sorry. I didn’t want to wake you.”

“I’m glad you did.” She held out her arms to him. “Come to bed, love.”

“I thought I’d take a shower. I’m a little ripe.” The light was on in the bathroom, and in its soft glow she could see he had dressed again, just the sweat pants so tantalizingly low on his hips. She’d never be able to look at him again without remembering what his clothes hid, she thought, and she grinned wickedly.

“Would you like for me to join you?”

“Ahh—no. That’s okay. You’re tired.” He put his hand on her head and smoothed her hair. “Get some sleep.”

Scully lay her head on the pillow and watched him walk away. At the door of the bathroom he turned and said, “I’ll probably be gone by the time you get up in the morning.”

“I doubt that. You know how early William wakes up.”

“Well, I’ve got some—stuff—tomorrow. Anyway . . .” He sighed, hesitated, and said, “I just wanted to say thanks.” He went into the bathroom hastily and shut the door.

“You’re welcome,” Scully whispered and frowned. She closed her eyes, but she knew it would be a while before she could sleep.

Doggett’s shower was short, and Scully cracked her eyes opened when he came out. Greedily she ate up the sight of his naked body, magnificent as a work of art. Not, she thought, cool marble of a Roman statue but warm bronze of an earlier era. Better than bronze, really: warm, living flesh, smooth and supple beneath her fingertips . . .

She sighed, and Doggett stopped searching the drawer for whatever he was looking for and stared at the bed. His face was a closed book. “It’s late.”

“There’s something you’re not saying.”

He grunted and turned his back to her. “I said thank you,” he said, his voice tight. “Thank you for the mercy fuck, Agent Scully.”

“Mercy fuck!” She glanced at William’s crib but there was no startled wail from the baby. She repeated in a whisper, “Mercy fuck? What are you talking about?”

“That. Downstairs. You takin’ pity on ol’ hard-up buddy John. Your way of repayin’ a debt, I guess. Or somethin’.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You don’t owe me anything, you know.” He grabbed a pair of pajama bottoms from the drawer and hastily pulled them on. “You know I like havin’ you here. Makes this damn house a lot easier to come home to. But, Jesus, Dana, sex is no way to settle accounts.”

Scully said, bewildered, “You think I made love to you out of a sense of obligation?”

“Didn’t you?” he said in an agonized whisper. They stared at each other across the bed.

“Oh, John,” Scully said. She pushed the blankets aside and got out of bed, and walked to him where he stood, trembling. She placed her hands on his chest, then wrapped her arms around him and kissed his throat. “My sweet John.”

“Don’t mess with me anymore, Dana. I can’t stand it.”

“I’m not messing with you. I promise.”

“Sometimes I think I should just give you this place. A house should have a family. I’d go—I don’t know—away—”

“John.” She kissed his chest. He resolutely held onto the bureau as if he couldn’t bring himself to touch her. “You’ve got it backwards, you know. It’s not the house. It’s you.”

He closed his eyes. “Stop it.”

“I like this house because you’re here. I like this bed because it’s yours. I wear your clothes because they’ve been close to you.”

“That damn shirt,” he muttered. “No matter how often I washed it, it still smelled like you. I figured it would be easier if I just gave it to you, didn’t want to wear it myself anymore, maybe then I could stop thinking about you all the fucking time.”

“There. You see?” She squeezed him gently. “I lie awake nights and wonder what it would feel like for you to love me.”

“Well, now you know,” he said in the same pain-filled voice, “and the next time Mulder comes back and takes you away again it’s going to be even worse than before.”

Scully inhaled, the full nature of his sorrow obvious to her now. “Mulder’s not coming back,” she said quietly, “and even if he did, I’ve made my choice.”

“You know I can’t believe that for a second. You wouldn’t choose me over the love of your life.”

She lay her head on his shoulder and stroked his back. “Sweetheart,” she said quietly. “My dear. Why would I choose a man who I can’t live with, who can’t stay with me, whom I care about deeply, yes, but who will always treat me as second best? Why would I choose him over my sweet friend who loves me?” She raised her head, searched his face. His eyes focused on hers, almost desperate, she thought. She whispered, “Whom I love?”

Doggett groaned and dropped his head to her shoulder. “Say that again.”

“I love you.” She combed her fingers through his hair. “And I wouldn’t be so hasty to call Mulder the love of my life. My life’s not over yet.”

He kissed her shoulder, then her neck. “God, I hope you mean it.”

“I mean it. I’ll show you every day, if you’ll let me.”

Doggett lifted his head and grasped her chin in his fingers. “Okay,” he said, and sweetly kissed her.

They would kiss for several minutes more, and then weariness would overtake them. They would lie down in the bed, hold each other close. They would whisper a few more things to each other, promises and small jokes, until one fell asleep first and the other watched over until overcome, too, by sleep. In the morning they would smile and embrace, and take the baby from his crib so he would feel the warmth of a newly-formed family. They would talk, and tears would be shed and kissed away. They would face their day with new energy, a new aura of satisfaction and joy. They would be apart, certainly, for the brief hours of the work day, but they would carry each other’s love like a shield.

And they would be happy.


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