Title: Endless Snow
Author: Amy H
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Well, if you haven't seen the X-files, you'll have problems
Disclaimer: Scully, Skinner, Doggett, etc. belong to Chris Carter and 1013 productions; I intend no infringement

Summary: Scully and Doggett go through Christmas without Mulder.


Out of any other time, Christmas was no doubt the hardest for Scully to get through without Mulder.

She sat at her window and watched the snow fall endlessly upon Georgetown. She sipped a mug of hot cocoa and gazed into the street where heavenly powder covered the streets in abundance.

There had been a driving ban announced on the news; she wasn't going out tonight. It wasn't that she would have otherwise, but having an option to leave was always reassuring. She would just sit and stare, her eyes lingering on the immaculate frozen flakes dropping to the ground in sync with the wind. She memorized what it looked like outside in winter.

It was only the first week of December, but snow had begun to fall early this year. It would fall in blanketing sheets. Older residents she had talked to told her it was the worst winter they'd seen in at least 30 years. She wished she could share it with Mulder.

When she would sit and stare sometimes she would begin to cry. She missed the thought of anticipating a call from Mulder to lead her on a stakeout on a cold night like this to investigate a "haunted" house. Hey eyes would fill and then tears would slip unnoticed down her cheeks. Half the time she wouldn't even realize she was crying until her nose would begin to run and there was pressure in her throat. She hated when she began to cry. It was like every weakness she had ever denied was surfacing without her knowing it. She felt so weak, that was probably the biggest disappointment she encountered.

Outside of her window trees sparkled with glittery snow sat beneath the grey clouded sky. As she looked, she realized that somewhere up there Mulder was. Was he looking down upon her? Was he thinking of her? Then she would cry again.

It was an endless path of agony she was not yet sure that she would be able to get over. Where was he? She had to know...

TWO WEEKS LATER
Scully/Doggett's Office
DECEMBER 23, 2000
3:43 pm

"Agent Scully?" Doggett began.

She jumped, noticing him for the first time in probably 2 hours. While typing at her computer she had drifted off, her gaze situated out the window at the unrelenting snow. It was addicting, mesmerizing, enchanting. She shook off the revelry that had weighted down upon her shoulders and blinked her eyes back into the dimmer light of their office.

"Yeah.." she said like she had anticipated the latter phrase. She looked into the computer screen again. She had left off on the word: Inconclusive. She deleted it immediately, what would Mulder have thought?

"Are you going to be attending the FBI Christmas Party?" he asked.

She shrugged then gazed down at the red, green and silver invitation upon her desk. It was tonight at 7:00 pm.

"I don't think so." she replied flatly and cleared her throat.

"Oh come on..." he said with a hint of amusement, "you should go."

She bit her lower lip and peeled off her glasses, her eyes going unpleasantly out of focus for a moment.

"I have things to do at home..." she began: a classic Scully excuse.

Doggett rolled his eyes without her noticing and stood up from his new desk.

"Will you please be my date for the Party tonight? And I'm not making a move or anything; it's just--"

"You don't need to explain yourself..." she interrupted and cleared her throat, "Listen, I appreciate the invitation and all, but-"

Doggett let out a deep breath like he had known prior to her starting the sentence what she would say.

She rolled her eyes.

"What?" she retaliated and looked back onto her clear desktop. She was thinking about Mulder again. Her emotions beginning to stir for the 100th time today.

"I'm sorry. I just would enjoy your company tonight. Please?"

She squinted at him and blew a strand of hair from her eyes.

"I don't know..."

"It'll be fun. You'll get to see some of our most respected get drunk!" he chuckled. Scully smirked and considered the offer, it did seem like it could be fun. Oh what the heck.

"I'll meet you there at 7 o'clock."

A victorious smile crossed his face. He'd won the enigmatic Agent Scully as a date.

She smiled softly and began to shut down her computer.

"Why have you been so nice to me? I mean, the first time I met you I tossed a cup of water into your face, I just..."

"Hey.." he interrupted, "a cup of water is not worth a grudge."

She turned off her computer. Doggett was a good guy she contemplated. Did it take something this simple to make her cognizant to the fact? She kicked herself mentally for being so rude towards him in the beginning.

He grabbed his coat and offered her hers.

She accepted it from his grasp, the wool warming her hand to the touch. She brushed Doggett's skin slightly as she pulled her article of clothing from his hand.

"Remember: 7:00."

"7:00 sharp," he added.

She exhaled and pulled her jacket over her shoulders. Her abdomen was getting so large she doubted that anything she wore tonight would disguise her pregnancy.

Scully pulled her keys from the top drawer of her desk and picked up her brief case. She marched to the door and locked up for the night. Doggett was holding the elevator for her. She stepped in and pressed "ground floor." It was only a flight of stairs away, but why waste a good elevator ride?

"So you going to your mother's house tomorrow?"

She swallowed a lump in her throat and looked at the floor.

"My brother Bill is coming in tomorrow and spending the holiday week at my mother's house with his wife and their son. Bill always hated Mulder..." she trailed off but then giggled quietly, "I'm sure my mother can wait until Christmas Eve to see me. I mean, I haven't even told her I'm..."

She frowned, leaving her words hanging.

"You're what?" he said curiously.

"I haven't even told my mother about my pregnancy yet." the disappointment in her voice was inescapably evident. She'd told Doggett her "secret" approximately a month ago and he'd taken it maturely and in secret.

She didn't know why but she trusted him.

Doggett looked down also.

"I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to talk it over with her on Christmas."

The elevator bell rang and both agents stepped out, Scully's heals clicking against the tile floor in unison with Doggett's shoes.

"I hope she can forgive me..." Scully added and felt her throat tighten again.

"Forgive you? I'm sure she'll be overjoyed just at the fact."

She looked away from him uncomfortably suddenly, slightly embarrassed. She'd never really talked to Mulder like this, especially in the first year of their work together. Doggett was somehow different though. It was like she had known him her whole life. Had he gone a step too close? Had she? Was talking to him like this a hormonal need? Was his comfort what she needed?

"What's wrong?" he asked breaking the silence.

"Nothing," she mumbled, then thought about it, "all right, Doggett, I feel insecure sharing what I feel with people, I've never been open with anyone. I just... I've told you so much."

He opened the exit door for her and walked towards her car. He had actually parked right beside her this morning in case he hadn't asked her to the party while in their office. He placed his hand on the small of her back as they went through the door.

She jumped and quickened her pace. She was frightened. Only Mulder could guide her by the small of her back. Doggett caught the hint and immediately pulled his hand away. The small of her back was a Mulder place...

He felt sorry for her. She was so paranoid. The smallest reminder of him would send her shaking like a leaf. Doggett knew how badly she was aching inside without her best friend and obviously also lover at her side. How much more could she do though? How much farther could she go in order to save him; find the truth; rescue her own self. This however was not the reason he'd asked her to go with him. He didn't have a date, and she was gorgeous. Frankly, he liked her. Her damned spirit and driven personality was what kept the search alive. He respected her for that.

She shook it off and shoved a hand into her pocket to retrieve her keys. She fumbled through them and chose the correct one for her car. She unlocked the door and stepped in.

"I'll see you tonight Agent Doggett."

He pushed her door closed for her and made a small waving gesture.

"7:00," she saw his mouth form. His smug grin was inviting her to laugh, but instead she drove away without looking back at him. Was she letting herself get too close? Should she have agreed to go with him to the party? There were so many unanswered questions, maybe that's what upset her the most.

She made her way home safely.

When she arrived at her apartment, she unlocked the door and made her way inside. It was 4:17 pm.

Now her biggest problem was what to wear...


Georgetown Ballroom
December 23rd
6:59pm

Doggett stepped up to where Dana Scully waited impatiently for him outside in the chilling cold.

"You could have gone in," he began.

"It's 6:59, I got here no more than 30 seconds ago, believe me, it's okay."

A moment later, Agent Scully and him made their appearance. They stepped into the room where other agents stood and conversed side by side merrily.

"May I take your coat Agent Scully?" Doggett offered. She was astounded by his polite demeanor and excellence at being a gentleman.

"You're quite the gentleman, Agent Doggett." Scully said, slightly impressed.

"My mom always told me when I was growing up to pull out chairs, open doors, and lead women by the small of their backs. I guess it's charming to be old fashioned."

"Indeed," she agreed, "Oh and by the way I called my mom..." she said and let him pull her peacoat over her shoulders.

"That's great," he replied with enthusiasm, "What did she say?"

"She was... surprised. Especially about the Mulder situation. I mean, I told her he was missing, but the whole pregnancy thing makes it a lot more serious. Generally she was happy for me and looking forward to seeing me Christmas Eve."

He hooked her coat onto a hanger and really looked at her for the first time.

"You look... very nice Agent Scully," Doggett said withholding what he really wanted to say in his own mind.

She blushed slightly

She was stunning! Her eyes looked like they were glowing. She wore a deep shade of crimson lipstick that matched her crushed velvet dress in the most enticing way. One could barely tell she was carrying a child from they way she wore that dress. It had a low neck revealing the cross necklace that she always wore.

"Thank You.."

He looked inside of the ball room and stood awestruck. The FBI had really outdone themselves this year.

"Wow- look at this," he said upon viewing it. A large chandelier hung high up in the ceiling, and the dance floor was partly covered with a large oriental rug. There were small round tables and also large long ones with food and drink refreshments atop them.

"This place is gorgeous..." she whispered.

Everyone was chatting amiably with their fellow co-workers.

"I know," Doggett agreed. He boldly took Scully's arm in his own and they began to stroll around the ballroom together.

Scully noticed weary faces staring at the two of them together. Normally that would vex her, but she felt different beside Doggett. He was like a form of popularity, restoring her damaged ego. She felt a lot more confident beside her new partner also. He was fresh, smart, but also a skeptic. Eventually that would change though.

"Would you like to get something to eat and sit down?" he asked her and released her arm.

"Yes, that would be great..." she said agreeably and they made their way over to the refreshment table. Scully made herself a plate of pasta and Doggett took some small hors d'ourves. He didn't have much of an appetite tonight, but his pregnant friend obviously did.

"Doggett, can I speak to you for a moment?"

He turned around to face an angry looking Skinner. He nodded.

"What about, sir?"

Skinner let out a deep breath and glanced over at Scully who was filling her plate.

"Why are you here with her?" he grumbled. His face looked older than usual tonight.

Doggett shook his head.

"What do you mean?"

"You know exactly what I mean jackass..."

Doggett's face turned pale.

"I asked her to be my date tonight," he replied nonchalantly, "she accepted and we're here. No damage done."

Skinner growled and looked back over at her. She had a smile upon her face as she spoke with someone Doggett knew but didn't remember.

"You be careful Doggett," he warned. Doggett shot him a quizzical glance and nodded in agreement.

"Whatever you say, Skinner..."

He stepped away from him and returned to his date's side. She greeted him with a fake smile.

"Why don't we go sit down?"

She followed behind him and they chose a table that no one else was situated at. She actually was grateful for his choosing so.

"What were you and Skinner talking about?" she asked and took a bite of her meal. He watched her chew, wondering what to say.

"Nothing much..." he replied idiotically.

"You're lying," she stated and looked into his eyes, "what did you really talk about?"

Doggett raised an eyebrow, how did she do that? She was like some kind of psychic.

"I think he may be mad about me asking you to come here with me tonight."

Scully eyed Skinner standing beside Kersh with a glass of champagne in hand. He waved towards her. She raised an eyebrow.

Skinner and Kersh were sworn enemies! Why were they standing together?! Maybe the holidays were about friends coming together and sharing good times, forgetting entirely about rank, class and authority.

Suddenly Kersh threw back his head and began to laugh hysterically. Then he started to do some kind of odd dance.

"What the hell..?"

Or maybe it was the alcohol... When he patted Skinner on the back and continued laughing Scully was certain that he was drunk. Skinner glanced at Scully in a pleading manner. He mouthed the words: "Help me."

Scully smirked and let out a small laugh.

"Some of our most respected, eh Doggett?"

She pointed towards Skinner and Kersh. Doggett looked over his shoulder.

"Holy hell!"

Doggett couldn't contain himself, he started laughing almost as hard as Kersh was at the moment.

"Doggett..." Scully tried to stop him. He continued to laugh. Scully couldn't help herself either though. She began to laugh with him; it was the first time she'd truly not thought of Mulder in a long time. Her spirits lifted; her child kicked.

She made eye contact with Doggett. She thanked him mentally for making her truly laugh.

Deep down, he thanked her for laughing with him.


Georgetown Ballroom
9:03

Scully and Doggett had mingled, something Mulder would not have done. She was now sitting against her chair with a satisfied expression upon her face. As she gazed at Doggett she wondered what he was thinking. His eyes wandered around the room aimlessly.

He sipped his wine and set it back down atop the fancy table cloth. The band was playing softly, although their current song was ending, the atmosphere was lovely, and her "date" was not a social outcast. She loved Mulder, but sometimes his social anxiety disorder, which was no doubt his own choice, got on her nerves.

The band began Louis Armstrong's "It's a Wonderful Life," and Scully watched Doggett's eyes close gently.

"Agent Scully..." he began in a hushed tone. He tapped his fingers against the table and looked into her sparkling eyes. She leaned her head to one side and smiled.

"Yes Doggett," she answered.

He cleared his throat and braced himself.

"Would you like to dance? Just this once-"

"Let me guess, partner to partner?" she began to stand up. He looked slightly awestruck as he took his hand.

"Come on fellow agent, let's have our first slow dance..." she said jokingly. She led him to the marble dance floor where about 20 other couples were hand in hand enjoying the music and holding their lovers close. Scully longed to have Mulder there with her to hold her close to his heart and step to the music. She tried to remain calm though. Dancing with Doggett seemed somewhat rational; after all, he had asked her to be his date.

Scully placed one hand on his shoulder and the other in his hand while his made its way to her hip. She accidentally shuddered when he did this, but held her head high; it was the way the dance was done.

While the song played and the instruments hummed in tune, Scully closed her eyes and imagined it was Mulder that she was dancing with. It was unfair to her partner, but somehow comforted her; like in the movie "Ghost" when Patrick Swayze's character's soul used Whoopi Goldberg's body in order to hold his wife. This was a lot less creepy though. Doggett was at least a man.

Doggett spun her around softly, noticing how content she seemed. Hell, for all he knew, she was probably pretending he was Mulder. Her hair was in small curls around her face, like it was framing her porcelain skin. She was perfect: strong, intelligent, independent. Doggett has always thought of himself as a man who did the right thing, but at this particular moment, he wasn't sure dancing with Scully was right. His emotions were inter- twining with his professionalism, the two paths which are forced apart.

Scully spun with her fellow agent gracefully, while in revelry of Mulder. Life was seemingly going foreword now, the direction Scully never thought was possible without Mulder. Was this the right thing to do? It wasn't like she was giving up or losing her wits, it was just a comforting feeling that she had been lacking. Dancing with Doggett felt like she was regaining some things that she had lost. However, some things were not all things...

She let him spin her under the glittery chandelier and sparkling Christmas lights. The dance floor seemed to disappear beneath her feet. She felt her child kick from inside of her again and, behind tears, smiled. Her face was beginning to become damp. Doggett noticed her current state and stopped dancing.

"Agent Scully, are you okay?"

She wiped at her cheeks and nodded dishonestly. Her throat tightened. Maybe this was a product of her pregnancy, but it felt good to let go sometimes. She fled back to their table and grabbed her purse.

"I have to go..."

"What? Are you all right?"

Scully quickened her pace back to where her jacket was hung up. She reached for it and pulled her arms into the sleeves. She swiped at her cheeks and shook her head.

"Doggett, I thought this was the right thing! What would Mulder think of me? I was dancing with you! I enjoyed it!"

His cheeks turned red and he looked at his feet.

"I don't think he would be mad..."

"What do you know? You don't know Mulder!"

She turned around and began to make her way out the door.

"But I do know you," Doggett said just loud enough for her to hear. She stopped dead in her tracks. Scully swallowed the lump in her throat and slowly looked back at Doggett.

"What does that mean?" she said and gulped at the air, "You think you know him because you know me?"

She shook her head unbelieveably and turned back around.

"What I meant, Agent Scully, was that, knowing you- you're strong, smart, bold. You have such integrity. I don't think any man would want you to give that up over him. You have so much living to do. You can't continue to beat yourself up ..."

Scully turned around and let out a loud cry. She sucked in air as her face screwed up and she began to sob. She swallowed and looked into Doggett's eyes. He felt terrible; he'd made her cry. She wiped at her tears and pulled a tissue from her pocket, absorbing the weakness from her eyes. Her eyes were no longer a piercing blue, but seemed like a soft anxiety.

"You're right..." she whispered, "you're absolutely right. Mulder would want me to keep living. I've given up so much time."

She stopped talking, and Doggett was sure she was going to leave that instant, but she continued to talk.

"And that's just why I need to find him: so I *can* move on."

Doggett felt the need to go comfort her, but held back. Maybe if he did it would scare her and make her flee, he wanted her to talk about this though. She needed to let go of all of the bottled up emotion.

"I gotta go..." she said and left. Doggett just stood there. He felt helpless watching her shed tears and let her fears overtake her emotions.

He wanted to stop her- to call to her and tell her but it just wasn't worth it.

"Dammit!" he yelled and stomped his foot on the tile floor covering.

______________________________________________

She stared blankly, observing the precipitation flutter aimlessly to the frozen earth. She scolded herself for leaving Doggett there alone. Leaving anyone alone like that is cruel, hell, were her morals being affected by her pregnancy? She probably hurt him and made him feel like an ass, but most of all, the next time they would see one another it would be incredibly awkward! How unprofessional of her!

The wind whistled outside, bending the tree tops. She glanced over at her tiny pathetic Christmas tree in the corner with shiny wrapped gifts beneath it for her family members. She was even pathetic enough to get a gift for Mulder. It wasn't much of anything: a small snow globe, but who knew? What if he did actually show up?

Life spun around her as the snow outside did; in little twisting whirl winds. She watched with full attention at the weather outside. She watched mother nature's power reveal itself before her glistening eyes. She watched, glued to the scenery in admiration, but really didn't watch. Her mind had drifted a while ago. She kept her attentive gaze out side, transfixed upon the layers and layers of frozen ground.

The snow painted a beautiful picture before her glimmering under the Georgetown lights. The building across the street was decorated: spirit with reds and greens. The scene before her did not fit her mood though. She was melancholy; it was glorious. Behind her, the channel 7 was showing reruns of "It's a Wonderful Life," and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." It seemed like she should be cuddled up on the couch with Mulder, nestled beneath his arm while seeing programs that were so cheerful and loving.

She continued to be the onlooker as a couple strolled beneath the street lights hand in hand, or rather glove in glove. They seemed like the ideal couple; her in a wool parka, him in his heavy overcoat. They stopped suddenly and between puffs of frozen air touched their lips together.

As soon as Scully saw this she burst out into tears. She held her head in her hands and wept like she should have a million times already. Only mere seconds later Scully glanced outside at the couple; they were gone. They'd vanished as if they'd never been. Maybe it was her mind playing cruel tricks on her, but it still hurt; her heart still caved in. She gasped for air and touched her head to the cool glass. The sky was relentless with white powder. It was amazing just how much snow the clouds could pour atop the city streets. The most amazing thing was that at the same time, while mother nature dropped tons of snow on the earth, it was still incredibly peaceful.

She turned and rested her head against her arm, dismissing the cold that the window had left upon her forehead. She shivered despite her heavy sweater, pants, and slippers. She touched her stomach softly, as if it were fragile and swallowed. Life's stress was loosening up from her shoulders very slowly, but it was still letting up, which was the only thing she could imagine right now.

She jumped as she heard a knock at the door.

"Shit..." she whispered startled. It was probably Doggett or Bill, both of whom she did not want to see right now.

"Agent Scully, it's me..." she heard Doggett's muffled voice from behind the wooden door. She stood up slowly and grabbed a tissue, wiping the remnants of tears from her red face. She knew it would be him, he was an honest man, and if he apologized it would somehow vindicate his truancy. She didn't buy it.

"I'll be there in a second..." she returned and made her way to the door. She tossed her tissue away and prepared to face the man she had been so mean to only a couple of hours before.

She unlocked the latch and pulled open her door. He stood there innocently, looking a little weary but stable and gazed down at his feet.

"I, uh... I just wanted to check up on you," he began.

"There's really no need to explain yourself," she said and pulled the door open farther, "come in."

He nodded and accepted the offer. Scully stepped out of his way and let him close the door behind himself.

"I'm sorry if I pushed your buttons tonight," he said as she offered to take his jacket, "I won't be here for long..."

"Okay," Scully replied.

"I just feel bad, are you sure you're all right?"

"Don't- don't apologize, I'm the one who lost control," she stammered and puffed out her cheeks, "I just blew up."

Doggett shoved his hands into his pockets and fumbled around for something. He pulled out a small wrapped box and card.

"I didn't only come here to apologize," he grinned, "you left so quickly that I didn't get the chance to give you this..."

"Doggett..." Scully said, "I can't accept this."

"Shhh," he shook his finger at her, "It's all right."

He placed the small box and card atop the coffee table and turned to leave. He re-adjusted his jacket and touched the handle of her doorway.

"I'd better get going, the snow's getting really bad," he glanced over his shoulder.

Scully had tears flowing down her cheeks in thick streams. He noticed this and whipped around.

"Are you all right?" he asked bewildered.

Scully shook her head and covered her mouth to stifle her cries. She was breaking down, her strength, once infallible was deteriorating. Maybe it was a product of pregnancy, or Mulder's disappearance, but it all came crashing down at that moment.

"No," was all she said.

Doggett offered her a hug and she fell into it easily. He felt like he was offending her by just the offer, but she was the one who didn't let go. As he held her shuddering, aching, crying body, he felt that it was the right thing to do, and he always tried to do the right thing.

Behind Doggett Scully watched as endless snow fell on to the streets and sidewalks. She cried into Doggett's jacket with all her heart, emotions spilling uncontrollably in the tiny formations of tears: tangible agony. She didn't know if this was right or if she was letting herself become subject to complete ignominy, but this was going to be a secret they shared, it had to be. Snow flakes tapped her window and bounced off to the street as she and Doggett just stood there, alone but with each other, it was as simple as that; friends.

END



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