Title: After Mulder: 3. Mending Hearts
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Spoilers: Season 8
Archive: Yes to XFMU and Addicted to Doggett. Drop me an email if you want it elsewhere. :-D
Disclaimer: No, they aren't mine.
Summary: Third in a series.
Author’s Note: It is highly suggested that you read the first two in this series in order to understand what events have occurred to bring about this story. The first two stories can be found at Addicted 2 Doggett and The Love Shack.
Margaret Scully set down a new diaper bag next to a changing table, and then hurried back to the front door to help her daughter welcome home her newest grandchild for the first time. Being the good grandmother that she is, Margaret had insisted they stay with her for a couple of weeks before starting out on their own.
Scully was amazed at the speed her mother had, though she knew she shouldn’t be. "I’m just going to put him down, then I’ll unpack a little."
"Oh, Dana, no. You rest. There are more important things for you to worry about and I can handle all of this." Margaret hugged Scully, then kissed William’s tiny hand that reached out for something as he slept. "By the way, there is a message on your answering machine. I noticed it when we came in."
As soon as the baby was down, Scully listened to the recording. The low, deep voice pained her and caused tears to form in her eyes. "Dana," he began slowly, "uh…when you feel up to it, I’ve got somethin’ for you to take a look at. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to come over here ‘cause it’s not ready yet." There was a pause before Doggett’s message ended.
"Oh, John." Scully sighed as her heart began to ache for the one man who had been everything to her without asking for a single thing in return. She had tried to apologize for her words at the hospital –
‘To sacrifice your life for your child, well, it's the ultimate sacrifice that could be made.’ Of course he would have given his life for his son. That’s not what she had meant, but the hurt in his eyes showed how he had interpreted that statement.
The piercing ring of the phone followed by William’s cries broke her thoughts.
"I’ll get him, Dana," her mother called from William’s room. Scully knew she’d probably never left.
"Scully? I’m sorry to bother you now but I thought you’d want to know."
Skinner’s voice was the last she thought she would hear on the other end of her phone.
"No, you’re fine, sir. What is it?"
The hesitation worried her. Skinner was reluctant to speak. "There’s no easy way to say this but…Doggett’s been shot. He went by himself to question a suspect in a robbery and was caught off guard. They’ve taken him to Washington Memorial."
"I’ll be right there." Scully let the phone slip into its receiver as Skinner’s words sank in. She hadn’t noticed her mother come up behind her.
"Dana," she touched her daughter’s shoulder gently, "What’s happened, dear?"
Scully could barely look at her mother as she spoke. "John’s been shot," she replied, "I’ll let you know when I’m coming home."
She was led to the third floor of Washington Memorial Hospital. Third floors were never good, in her opinion. They had always been the ICU units.
Her mother was home with William. At least that was one less thing she didn’t have to worry about right now. She could focus on what was before her. Focus, she told herself, just focus.
"Where is he," she nearly screamed out when she finally saw Skinner pacing a hallway.
"They’re setting up the equipment and whatever else they need." He pointed towards the room directly across from him and caught her by the arm before she could go inside. "Scully," Skinner looked directly at her, pain in his eyes, "I’m sorry. He insisted on going alone. He’s been…different lately. I’ve been worried about him."
Scully bit her lip in a futile attempt to fight back tears. They both knew why Doggett had been ‘different lately’. She had hurt him. But, she had to believe she had a second chance.
As Doggett’s doctor explained the extent of his injuries, Scully realized she wasn’t listening. Her eyes were looking into the room where he was laying silently, her heart pleading with his heart to let her back in.
"Now, I know you’re going to want to stay with him while he recovers but I must insist that you let him have time to himself. It is essential that he be able to have peace and quiet once he wakes up." The doctor was looking directly at Scully as she finally turned around.
"I understand. I’m a medical doctor so I can help in aiding his recovery. You said the bullet went through and through, right? But it didn’t hit the spinal cord?"
The doctor nodded. It was obvious to him that Scully was competent enough for this type of injury since it wasn’t life threatening. "Yes, but it did come close enough to his heart to cause some major tissue damage. However, we’re most concerned about the loss of blood and shock to his system. Bullet wounds are nothing to fool around with, as I’m sure you’re aware of."
She was. Scully thanked the doctor for his information before stepping into Doggett’s room.
For a few minutes, Skinner stood on the other side of the window and watched Scully pull up an uncomfortable plastic chair beside the hospital bed. He had seen the incredible pain on her face the moment she stepped off the elevator. She’d already lost Mulder and he knew how much her relationship to Doggett had grown during the last few months. He had to believe that Scully’s unending strength and new baby would give her hope and spur her on.
"I don’t know if you can hear me, John." Scully held his hand in hers and gently stroked it with her thumb. "I have to believe you can even though you’ve got so many drugs and pain medications pumping through you right now. I got your message." The tears she had been fighting slowly crept to the edge of her eyes. "You have to get better. I’m anxious to see what you had to show me and…William…you’ll love him, John. He’s so beautiful." She laid her head against his chest, angled so she could see him and feel the rise and fall of his chest.
His face was almost ashen; it scared her. The doctor had spoken about how much blood he had lost at the scene. She could only imagine what it had been like for him and that fact haunted her. Had he been frightened? She believed even John could be afraid, even for a split second. Had he been in a great deal of pain or had the loss of blood been quick to take it’s toll and give way to unconsciousness? Her thoughts and fears continued to linger as a jumbled mess until she drifted into a fitful sleep with his hand wrapped in hers.
She was startled awake by a movement over her face. How long had she been sleeping? What was touching her? Scully brushed aside hair that had fallen across her eyes to look up and see.
Doggett’s eyes were opened. He had been the one touching her hair just as he was now lightly squeezing her hand. Tears were falling from Scully’s eyes as she realized the smile on his face was directed at her and he was trying to speak.
"What?" She leaned over his mouth, placing her ear close to it.
"Your rocking chair is almost ready."
Scully looked at him with a puzzled _expression. "I
don’t understand. That’s…"
Doggett nodded and brought up his hand to wipe away the tear that was threatening to fall from her eye. "Used mahogany wood. Hope that’s okay. You’ll look beautiful sitting in it, Dana."
It was impossible to stop her from crying now. Her partner – her true partner – was laying in a hospital bed with a gunshot wound and he wanted to tell her about something he had done *for* her. This was the man she had been waiting for. He had done everything right even when she had done everything wrong.
There would be a time and a place for her to apologize. It wasn’t now. He knew. They both knew. She could see it in those blue eyes that captured the very essence of his soul. He had forgiven her the very moment she had hurt him.
"John," Scully gently kissed his cheek, "You were never just a substitute for Mulder."