Title: After Mulder : 1. Making Circles
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Spoilers: Season 8
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Summary: Following Mulder's death, Scully's struggle to deal with her pregnancy is shared by Doggett – who's admiration and caring turns into something deeper. First in a series.
She was the one that was marked to go first, not him. Her abduction, the cancer – she should be gone yet she was standing in the basement office. And Mulder was not.
" `Morning, thought you might like something to warm you up." Doggett handed her a large Styrofoam cup of vanilla spice hot tea. "No caffeine, doctor's orders." He smiled as he took his seat across from Mulder's desk.
Scully's thoughts turned from loss to thanksgiving. The movement in her belly let her know her miracle was still there. "Thank you." She gingerly sat down. There was no doubt in her mind that her new partner was quietly assuming the role of protector. She did not mind. Many days, knowing Doggett would be at the office helped pull her out of bed.
"The weatherman swears it's gonna warm up but I swear I'm gonna do somethin' if it keeps snowing." Doggett pushed aside a file folder, "Ya know, when you've seen one dead cow, you've seen `em all."
"Oh really?" Scully sipped at her drink. "Did you grow up on a farm, then? How many more secrets are you keeping from me?"
With a smirk, Doggett shrugged his shoulders, "Not many. Why tell about my criminal record when the FBI overlooked it?"
"Ha ha, very funny. How did you know to choose vanilla spice?"
He surprised Scully by walking to her desk and opening the bottom drawer, revealing a half-empty box of tea bags. Holding one for her to see, Doggett laid it on the desk. "I had to find a pencil. `stead, I found these. Good to know I won't get the wrong flavor."
Scully's eyes were locked on his. Had they always been that blue? Or had she been too blind to notice? "You know," she said, not losing her gaze, "there are plenty up there. In case you need one in the future."
He looked towards where she was pointing. Several pencils were lodged in the ceiling. "Thanks. Good thing to know."
"Mmph" Scully set down her cup and put her hand to her stomach. The baby was making its presence known. Mulder's baby – the truth was not forgotten by either of them. "Been a little active lately."
"Troublemaker," Doggett chuckled while reaching out his hand to touch her stomach. He moved in slow circles, following the baby's kicking until it finally slowed.
The heat from his hand rendered the hot tea useless. Scully audibly sighed as he calmed her child. He had calmed her, too. Any anxiety she had brought to the office was lifting.
"You liked that?"
Doggett was grinning at her. Scully could feel heat rush across her body as she nodded. There was no use in denying it. "Where did you learn that?"
"It was the only way Barb could get rest sometimes." He walked back to his desk and Scully knew there would be no more talk of his past for the time being.
"Scully, if only you had tried a little harder, I could see my child grow." A tear fell from Mulder's eye as he spoke.
Scully reached for him but could not touch him. "Please, we tried. Don't say that. Mulder…" He vanished before her.
His pleading voice reverberated in her ears but he wasn't in the room. She was alone, surrounded by darkness. It was a trick of her mind. They had done everything possible to save him – she had to keep believing that.
Scully slipped out of bed and went to the bathroom. Her eyes were red – a fitting match to her swollen hands and feet.
"Settle down, baby. Momma's going back to bed." The kicking increased to the volume it had been this morning. Scully lay back against her pillow and attempted to recreate the circular pattern Doggett had created earlier. It didn't work.
The clock on her nightstand read 4:30 when she gave up and called him. "Agent Doggett? I'm sorry to wake you at this hour."
Rubbing his eyes, Doggett immediately snapped to attention. "Agent Scully?" His thoughts went to her pregnancy. "Is everything okay? Where are you?"
"Um..I'm at home. Everything's fine." She paused and winced while turning on her side. "I actually feel really stupid calling you but… when we were at the office you somehow made my baby relax."
A grin spread across Doggett's face, "I can be there in twenty minutes. You can still get an hour and a half's sleep." She started to apologize, but he stopped her. "Think nothin' of it. Gotta keep my partner happy."
That call started a routine. The baby seemed to know when Doggett would be available – he kicked at the office and the early morning. Scully didn't call him anymore, he just made his trek to her apartment at 4 am – often bringing her favorite tea with him. She would fall asleep with his hand on her stomach and awake with it still there.
"Dinner at my place, Agent Doggett. You've done so much these last couple of weeks, it's time for me to repay you."
Doggett didn't look up from his paperwork. These last couple of weeks had begun to stir conflicting feelings that he was unsure of. Feelings of fatherhood, of protection, of longing – of not wanting to just be there when needed.
"Agent Doggett?" Scully wrinkled her forehead in question.
"Yeah," he finally responded in an upbeat tone, "sounds wonderful. Get kinda tired of microwave pizza."
"You don't have to worry about that. As long as you don't have an aversion to grilled chicken, we should be fine."
"We'll be fine." Doggett grinned and broke the lead on his pencil.
John Doggett decided grilled chicken was the most fascinating meal he had ever had the pleasure of dining on. So good, in fact, that he saw no reason to look up from his plate.
"Then, I decided that after the baby is born I'm moving to Bermuda where I will begin a little roadside stand that caters to tourists. I'll be the Island's redheaded Miss Cleo," Scully spoke in a sarcastic tone.
Doggett nodded, "Oh. Okay."
"Agent Doggett." Scully spoke firmly, trying to get his attention to no avail.
His head snapped up. She was staring at him, hands folded in front of her.
"Where have you been all evening? You didn't hear anything I said, did you?"
Caught red-handed. Doggett's face fell. He didn't know what to say.
"What's wrong?" Scully prodded. She knew something was bothering him. It had been all day. He wasn't his usual self.
"I…nothing." He sighed, "How are you feelin'? How's the baby tonight?"
"Why don't you go sit on the couch while I clean up? Then maybe you'll have time to reconsider not talking to me." Scully cleared the table quickly.
He could hear her working diligently. It crossed his mind that the sound was soothing. She was humming softly while the water ran across the dishes. Doggett could visualize her hands moving swiftly to remove the debris and place them to dry. He visualized himself walking up behind her, wrapping his hands around her swollen belly and hugging her tightly. He would kiss her softly on the earlobe and tell her how wonderful dinner had been. "Wonderful, Dana. Couldn't have been better." He would take her upstairs, help her into a bath. Afterwards, he would massage her feet then work his circle magic over stomach as he traced the baby's kicks…
"Hi, maybe now you feel like talking."
Dammit! Caught again!
Doggett watched her as she relaxed beside him.
Scully watched Doggett.
Somehow, they both knew.
"Agent Doggett –" "Agent Scully –" Both grinned, embarrassed and unprepared.
Scully coughed a little and attempted to start again,
"John, you know – "
"No," He had to interrupt, "Dana, I can't help but feel that I'm intruding."
There was a moment of silence before Scully reached over and took his hand. "Mulder's gone. He's not coming back. John, if I felt awkward about having you around or letting you help me during my pregnancy, I would be the first to let you know."
"I just…" Doggett squeezed her hand "I don't want to just be here during your pregnancy."
She let this sink in. Relief and disbelief flooded her simultaneously. Scully felt a kick and led their joined hands to where it had occurred.
With a smile, she said softly, "We agree."