Title: Love on the Run
Author: L. M. Shard Date completed: March 29, 2002
Website: www.thefoxandhoundx-files.com
Rating: NC-17
Category: S, R, A
Spoilers: Provenance
Keywords: Doggett/Scully friendship, Doggett/Scully romance
Archive: Probably anywhere, just ask first.
Disclaimer: All X-Files characters are the property of Chris Carter, 1013, and Fox. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made by this.
Thanks to: Ginger for the title and other suggestions, Diandra for the beta, and Megan (the shower scene is for you!).

Summary: When threats begin to pile up against Scully's son, Doggett does all he can to protect him and Scully.

Author's Note: This begins from that one scene in "Provenance" where Scully is "interrogating" Comer on the floor of William's room. It is how I think the episode should have continued. It has angst, fluff (a lot more fluff than I originally planned-imagine that!), and sex; a solid dose of DSR.

Dana Scully called John Doggett into her bedroom. He was shocked at what he found laying on her floor. The undercover FBI Agent Comer was bleeding, dying from gunshot wounds inflicted earlier by Scully. Scully told Doggett that he had tried to kill William and that she had shot him and now she was trying to get information out of him.

"You called the ambulance, right?" Doggett had to ask. He had an uneasy suspicion.

"No, not until he tells me why he tried to kill my son!" she almost screamed, panic heavy in her voice.

She dove down to the ground where the man lay bleeding and grabbed him by the shirt collar, yelling, "Why are you trying to kill my son?!"

Doggett couldn't believe the scene before him. He had a million emotions pulling on him at once: shock, duty, responsibility, and a great compassion for Scully. But the one that won out at that moment, the one that had to win out for so many reasons, was what he did automatically: he pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911. When he knew the ambulance would be arriving shortly, he did what his heart needed him to do. He knelt down beside the frantic Scully and put his hands firmly on her shoulders in an effort to calm, comfort, and support her at the same time.

"Agent Scully!" he exclaimed, willing her to turn around and look at him. "Agent Scully...Dana!"

At the sound of her given name she turned to face him and caught his firm stare. "You must do what you can to save this man's life 'till the paramedics get here!"

"But then I'll never get the information I need once they get here and the FBI gets a hold of him!" she screamed desperately. Didn't he understand?!

"Look at him, Dana!" he shouted back, seeing that the man was in no condition to talk anyway. "He's unconscious!"

Suddenly she realized what she was doing, and against every motherly instinct, she followed her trained medical instinct and did what she could to prolong the man's life. After what seemed like infinite moments, the paramedics finally arrived and took over.

Scully left the room and stood outside the bedroom door. Her nerves were shot, her emotions in turmoil.

A couple minutes later, after having given the paramedics whatever information he could, Doggett walked over to her and immediately wrapped her in his arms. She let him embrace her, needing some comfort, some grounding in this whirlwind of fear, rage, and helplessness that she felt. They hugged in silence until the paramedics walked by with Comer on a stretcher and exited her apartment. Then she let the tears flow, not able to hold them in anymore. Her body shook involuntarily as the reality of what had just gone on in the last half hour came crashing into her consciousness like a bright, burning ball of fire. He stroked her back with one hand and pulled her tighter against him with the other.

"He tried to kill my baby," she mumbled through her tears, "and he almost did. If I hadn't come at that second..."

"Shh, William's safe now. You protected him," he tried to soothe, but he knew of the pain she was going through, he knew what it was like to have the other outcome, the final, dreadful one. He also knew that, although safe for the moment, she and William were no longer safe in this apartment.

"Dana, I want you and William to stay with me for the night. I think you'll be safer," he suggested, hoping she would accept his offer. He had to protect her and the baby. If anything did happen to them, he would never forgive himself.

She quickly tried to regain some semblance of composure, embarrassed that she had cried in his arms like some weak doe of a woman. Looking at him with a red and tear- streaked face, she wanted to protest, but knew he was right. They were not safe here. "Okay," she simply said, almost in a whisper. She suddenly felt sapped of all energy.

"Pack some things for you and William and I'll call Monica and have her bring him to my place as soon as possible," he said, taking control over the situation.

She nodded and walked into the bedroom, momentarily glancing at the large bloodstain on the carpet. Quickly throwing together some clothes and toiletries for herself and the baby, she rushed back to Doggett who was waiting in the living room. She suddenly couldn't wait to leave her home and leave this nightmare behind. Doggett took the bags from her and they exited the apartment.

Reyes arrived at Doggett's house with William just minutes after Scully and Doggett did. With great relief and love, Scully took her baby from Reyes' arms and hugged him tightly to her chest.

"Thanks for watching him, Monica," she said, tears already threatening to spill onto her cheeks.

Reyes looked at her with great compassion and touched her shoulder gently, "I'm just glad he's safe. He's a wonderful baby." Reyes gave her a smile and Scully returned it. "You'll both be safe here with John. I know he'll make sure of it," she added, indeed knowing that Doggett would do anything to protect them. She had had a feeling for some time now that Doggett thought of Scully as more than just as a coworker. She could see it in the way he looked at her, the way his gaze followed her when she left a room.

"Thanks, Monica," Scully said softly.

"I better get going. I know you must be very tired," she said and turned to leave.

"I'll walk you out," Doggett offered and opened the door for her. They walked into the cool night air.

"Thanks a lot, Monica," he said as they stood by her car.

She smiled. "No problem, John."

"I'm probably gonna to move us in the mornin', so don't be surprised if we're not here," he said, knowing he needed to take the side of caution.

She shook her head in agreement. "That's probably best. I have an odd feeling about all this. Good luck and please let me know if I can do anything to help."

"Thanks," he said and gave her a quick hug. She was a good woman. One he could trust and always count on.

Back inside the house, Doggett found Scully sitting on the couch with William in her arms. The baby was fast asleep. Quietly he sat next to her and whispered, "I'm gonna make up a little makeshift bed for William where he can sleep tonight and then I'll make us some dinner."

She smiled warmly at him. He was so good to her, had been from Day One. Why she couldn't quite understand, considering she hadn't really accepted him with open arms and it had taken her a long time to trust him. "Thanks, John. I really appreciate all you're doing."

He returned her warm smile. "Glad I can help. I'll be back shortly," he said and left the room.

Scully reached for her cell phone and called her mom to ask how she was and let her know where they were staying. Her mother was relieved to hear that her daughter and grandchild would be safe, at least for tonight. She knew Doggett wouldn't allow any harm to come to either of them.

About fifteen minutes later, Doggett was finished and lead Scully up to his bedroom. He pointed to the little bed in the corner that he made out of couch seat cushions covered by a crisp white cotton sheet. "How's that?" he asked rather proudly.

Scully was amazed at his ingenuity. The bed was perfect for William, but she noticed that they were standing in his bedroom, not the guest bedroom. "John, it's perfect, but the guest room would have been fine for us."

"Well, I thought my room would give you more privacy, since the bathroom's attached. I'll sleep in the guest room."

"I don't want to kick you out of your own bed, John! You've already done enough for us!" she said, although deeply touched by his kindness and consideration. What a gentleman he was, through and through!

"No, I insist. You've been uprooted from your home and I just wanna make it as painless as possible. Please." He looked at her with great feeling in his eyes.

"Well thank you," she said with a rather shy smile.

"Why don't you put William down and then come join me for dinner?" he suggested.

"I'll be there," she said and walked into the room.

Ten minutes later she was back downstairs, her stomach growling. She had changed into a pair of comfortable heather grey sweats and traded in her shoes for thick socks.

"Dinner's almost ready," he said. "Nothin' fancy, just some pasta and heated up marinara sauce I made the other day."

"You made your own marinara sauce?" Scully was astounded that he could cook at all, let alone from scratch.

He grinned widely. "Does that surprise you?"

"Well, yes." She grinned back.

"It was kinda a necessity. There's only so much takeout I can stand. So one day I just called up my mom and asked her for some of my favorite childhood recipes-the easy ones, that is-and she sent me a bunch over email. And, voila, marinara sauce was one of them. I just make a big batch, freeze it, and then have it on hand for weeks whenever I need it."

"Well, I am impressed," she said sincerely. The more she learned about this man, the more she liked. "What can I do to help?"

"You can set the table while I throw together a salad, if you'd like," he suggested, smiling at her. He liked this, having Dana Scully over to his house for dinner. He knew the circumstances were dire, but still he enjoyed being with her like this, outside of the workplace.

Minutes later they were at the dining room table eating their meal.

"Umm, very good, John. You can cook for me anytime you want," she said. Somehow this simple meal tasted incredibly delicious. Maybe it was because of the company as well as the sense of safety and security she felt, which had been lacking from her life for many months now. Whatever it was, she was enjoying herself, despite what terrors the day had brought earlier.

He smiled in thanks. "I'd love to cook for you more often," he said, before he realized just what he was saying. God, he wanted to cook for her, share meals with her, every day for the rest of their lives, but this was not the time to reveal the secrets of his heart.

"I'd like that," she responded, surprising herself at her frankness.

Pleased, he smiled lovingly at her then quickly changed the subject. "My family has a cabin 'bout three hours from here. No one knows 'bout it 'cept for my family, of course, and Monica. I think it'd be good if we stayed there 'till the danger passes."

Scully thought over his suggestion for a moment and agreed that they'd be safer if no one, or very few people, knew where they were. Doggett's main residence was on all of the FBI's human resources and payroll paperwork, but this cabin would not be. "Sounds like a good idea."

"Glad you agree. We'll leave first thing in the mornin'," he said.

"You know, John, you don't have to stay with William and me until the danger passes. I mean it could end up being weeks or so. William and I would be fine alone at the cabin. I'm sure Kersh wants you back at the office and I don't want to put your life on hold," she said, not wanting to burden him further. The man had already done so much for her and her baby. Although she liked and wanted him with her, she had no right in asking or expecting that kind of attention.

"There's no way I'm gonna to leave you two alone when there's people out there who want to kill your son! I'd never be able to live with myself if anythin' happened to either of you," Doggett said sternly. He was going to personally assure their protection, no matter what it took. "As for missin' work, that's already been taken care of. After I made that little bed for William, I gave Skinner a call and he was insistent I stay with you 'till all this passes. He told me he'd deal with Kersh."

She was rather surprised at his eagerness and devotion to her protection, although he had been protective of her from the start. He was putting her and William first, even though it was not his job to do so, and it made her feel...special. Yes, special, like no man had ever made her feel before. But then again, perhaps he was doing this because he couldn't save his own son, and now he had an opportunity to save her son, and he felt an obligation to do so, to try to gain some control in uncontrollable situations. Whatever it was, she was grateful.

She didn't know what she should say, so she simply said, "Thanks," and gave him a small, rather shy smile. She did feel much safer with him around, but she was not ready to admit that to him, at least not yet. Ever since she could remember, she always had had the compulsion that she had to be strong and independent, at least appear strong and independent.

Doggett smiled back then asked, "Do you wanna get some shut-eye now, or I should light a fire in the fireplace and we could sit for a while?"

He knew she was very tired and was actually surprised when she said, "I'd love to sit by the fire. Even though I'm pretty beat, I still need to unwind a bit. The day has just been so, so-"

"I know," he interrupted. "Lemme start the fire, then I'll clean up here and join you."

"Oh, let me help you with the clean up," she said.

"No, Dana. I'll do it. Please, go relax." She needed some peace. The last thing she should worry about was dirty dishes.

"Alright," she said and walked over to the couch as he started the fire. Within minutes it was ablaze with soothing light and heat.

Shortly thereafter, he joined her. "All done," he said and took a seat next to her. She had her legs tucked under her and was curled in the corner of the couch.

"That was fast," she remarked, amazed.

"Thank God for dishwashers!" He laughed.

She flashed him a big smile. "Umm, this is so wonderful, John. The heat, the sound of the crackling wood, the warm glow of the fire; it's all so relaxing. Just what I needed. Thank you."

"I'm glad you're enjoyin' it, but please stop thankin' me for everythin'," he said, looking at her seriously. "I hope you know by now that I'd do anythin' for you." Where did that come from? He knew he had stepped over a line, even if it was a small one.

She met his gaze and felt the intensity in it. "I do," she whispered and touched his hand. Immediately, he turned his hand around and grasped hers in a gentle, yet firm hold. They just looked at each other and held hands for a long time, letting a much-needed feeling of peace surround them. They were comfortable in each other's presence and in their silence, and eventually Scully's eyes became very heavy with sleep. She jerked just as she nodded off and looked up to find Doggett gazing at her, warmth radiating from his eyes. They glowed amber in the firelight and reflected something profound and powerful, yet she was too sleepy to put her finger on it.

"Why don't you go to bed," he suggested gently, his voice cracking slightly.

She nodded. "Yeah, I'd better. I just can't keep my eyes open."

They stood up simultaneously, then Doggett said, "I put some fresh towels on the bathroom counter. If you need anything else..." he started to say, as another thought pushed through his mind. "Oh, I forgot to change the sheets for you! Lemme quickly go do that; I promise to be quiet and not wake William."

"Oh, John, don't worry about it. I don't mind. Besides, I'm so tired, I don't even really care right now," she said truthfully. She swayed slightly in her fatigue.

Doggett grabbed her arm to steady her and said, "Are you sure? It's no problem-"

"Really, John, I don't mind at all." She smiled weakly up to him. Right now all she really wanted to do was go to sleep.

He saw the extreme fatigue in her eyes and let it go, taking small comfort in the fact that he had washed them only three days ago. Although he was rather embarrassed to have his guest sleep in his slept-in sheets, it was apparent that it didn't bother her.

He smiled. "Let's go upstairs," he said, turning off the lights. "I'm gonna hit the sack too."

They walked to the bedroom together and stopped at the door. Without thinking, she fell into his arms in a rather sloppy hug saying, "Goodnight, John."

"Goodnight," he repeated, delighted at her unexpected embrace, and they walked into their separate rooms.

Scully didn't even bother brushing her teeth or putting on her pajamas, she was so exhausted. Instead she glanced at her sleeping angel and climbed directly into bed. As she lay her head down on the pillow, John Doggett's scent filled her nostrils. She inhaled deeply, finding great comfort in the masculine and familiar smell, and pulled the sheets over her more closely. Surrounded by his essence, she felt cozy and safe, and quickly feel into a deep, dreamless sleep.

In the other bedroom, sleep did not come as easily to Doggett. He felt responsible for the two precious lives in the room next to him and he was determined to keep them safe. Absently, he fingered the gun at his side. Thoughts of the death of his own son plagued him and that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that he always felt when thinking of his death, returned once again. He tried to push his emotions out of his mind, and eventually sleep claimed him as well.

Doggett rose early the next morning, having not slept well, and packed a duffle bag with clothes and toiletries for their stay at the cabin. Then he silently padded downstairs, grabbed a cooler from the garage and filled it with fruit, four sandwiches, chips, and several drinks for the road. He then proceeded to make a breakfast of Canadian bacon, eggs, and toast.

The coffee had just finished brewing when he heard soft footsteps behind him. He turned around to find Scully with a bright-eyed William in her arms. She was still in the sweats she had worn last night and her hair was tousled, but she looked absolutely radiant and beautiful to Doggett.

"Good mornin'," he said warmly, finding it difficult to take his eyes off her. "You sleep well?"

"Good morning to you too, and yes, I actually did sleep well, thanks to you," she responded with a smile. "And I thought last night would have been plagued by nightmares, yet I can't recall any dreams at all." She felt safe, that's what it all boiled down to. Safe like she hadn't felt since even before William's birth.

"Good," he said, but he knew the nightmares would come. It was just a matter of time. Walking over to William he asked, "May I?" and opened his arms to receive him.

"Of course," she said, warmed at the fact he was interested in holding him. She placed him in Doggett's secure arms.

"And how'd you sleep, big guy?" he asked the baby, smiling down at him. He gave him a little tickle and William squealed in delight. "Let's see what we have here," he said walking him to the stovetop. "Eggs, Canadian bacon, toast, and coffee. I hope your mommy is hungry!" William giggled in reply.

"Actually, I am," Scully said and proceeded to set the table and fill the plates with the scrumptious-looking breakfast. "This looks great, John. What a delicious way to wake up in the morning."

"We'll let's dig in before it gets cold," he said, putting William in his car seat and placing him on top of the far end of the table so he could observe them eating.

About twenty minutes later they were finished with their meal and Scully went upstairs for a quick shower. They both felt an urgency that they should leave as soon as possible, and within another half hour they had piled William, the duffle bags, the baby bags, and the cooler of food in Scully's car. They had decided that her four-door sedan was roomier than Doggett's truck.

"Would you like me to drive?" Doggett asked after he locked up his house.

Since Doggett knew the way and she was just not in the mood for sitting behind the wheel on a long drive, she gladly relinquished the keys to him. Besides, this way she could entertain William if he became fussy. "That'd be great."

He took the keys from her and opened the passenger side door for her. She sat down, the chivalrous gesture not being lost on her, and he gently shut the door after her. Minutes later they were on the freeway heading out of Falls Church and to the cabin.

The ride was pleasant and they shared comfortable conversation. Just over halfway to their destination, Doggett asked, "Gettin' hungry?" His stomach was growling to be filled.

"Yeah. Good thing you packed us a lunch, 'cause I don't see any sign of civilization for miles," she remarked, looking at the wide expanse of meadow around them. They had been driving through it for a quarter hour and it didn't look like it was going to end anytime soon. Not that she was complaining; it was simply beautiful, something she did not see often enough.

"I know. I love this stretch of road," Doggett said, pulling over at an exceptionally scenic spot. "My family and I used to have picnics here all the time on the way up to the cabin. It was kind of a tradition."

"Sounds wonderful," she said, taking the sleeping William with his car seat out of the car. Doggett grabbed a blanket and the cooler and they headed toward one of the several trees scattered in the meadow and spread out under its shade. The setting was truly exquisite. Thousands of little yellow and white flowers peppered the long, green meadow grass and the sky was a vibrant blue.

"So you and your family would come to this cabin every summer?" Scully asked as they made themselves comfortable on the blanket and passed out the sandwiches.

"Yeah, every summer without fail. We had the cabin ever since I can remember. Even now we still all use it as sort of a refuge from the insanity of real life, just now we go separately and at different times of the year."

Scully realized that she actually knew nothing of Doggett's family and she was interested to know more. "So tell me about your family," she said taking a bite of her sandwich.

He smiled. "Well, whaddya wanna know?"

She shrugged her shoulders. "Any brothers or sisters?"

"I've got one younger brother, Mike. We get along great, although we're pretty different from each other." He chuckled, thinking about him.

"Oh, really? Like how?"

"He's more of a free spirit: impulsive, a bit wild, really gung-ho to try anythin' and everythin'. He's the type to go bungee jumpin' and skydivin'."

"And you're not?" she asked playfully.

He grinned. "Well, I think our jobs at the FBI, and my former one as a cop, brings me enough thrills 'n' chills. But you never know, I might surprise you," he said, the grin still on his lips.

He already had many times over in the year they had known each other. She returned his grin and asked, "What about your parents?"

"My dad was a Marine for six years, then became a New York City cop. Guess I kinda followed in his footsteps." He smiled. "He's retired now. My mom took care of us kids. She was, and still is, a homemaker. We're all really close. I see 'em about once a month or so. You'd like 'em and they'd like you, as would my brother, but he'd...." He let his sentence trail off, not wanting to offend her.

"He'd what?" she asked curiously.

He gave her a lopsided smile. "Well, let's just say he'd like you and he wouldn't exactly be a gentleman about showin' his admiration."

"Sounds like he'd be fun to meet," she said with a playful smirk.

He smirked right back at her and gave her an intense stare. Yes, his brother would be all over her, that was for sure. "Maybe you will someday. What about your family?"

"Well, I think you know about my sister from the files," she said sadly.

"Yeah," he said quietly, kicking himself for asking. He certainly didn't want to bring up painful memories.

"And I have two brothers: an older one who is married and has a child and a younger one still in college. My father died about eight years ago, and you know my mom."

"Your mom's great. I'm glad you have her to help you out with William. It must be really hard raisin' him alone," he said, regretting it the moment he said it. Foot in mouth again. Scully looked down. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean-"

"I know," she said. He put his hand on hers and she took comfort in the figurative and literal warmth it gave. If she could just know the mystery of her conception, it might help her to figure out why her baby was so coveted or feared. She thought for a long time before she spoke again, finally deciding that the more information Doggett had about anything related to William, the more he'd possibly be able to protect him or at least understand why he was in danger.

Doggett sensed the mood had changed and he had a feeling that she was going to tell him something rather profound and important. He waited patiently in silence, not removing his hand from on top of hers. He wanted her to know-to feel-that she could tell him anything.

"William's conception is rather a mystery to me. I'm not even sure who the father is," she started hesitantly with her eyes lowered. When Doggett said nothing, she looked up to meet his gaze. It was somber, but non-judgmental and compassionate. It gave her the push she needed to go on. "As you know, I thought I was barren, but I had a small chance of conception when Mulder presented me with a vile of my ova that they had taken from me during my abduction. With Mulder's...contribution...I tried in vitro fertilization, but it didn't take."

Doggett was stunned. Scully and Mulder were not lovers? "You and Mulder aren't..."

Scully shook her head. "Not at that point. We consummated our relationship-once-after the in vitro, but not since."

Doggett was even more surprised. So they did make love, but only once? He was dying to ask why, but knew that was none of his business. That she was telling him this much was amazing in itself. "But either way, Dana, that makes Mulder William's father," then another thought occurred to him, "unless..."

"No, it's not what you think: there was no one else, but the timing was all off. Mulder and I got together too late for William to be his child. I would have had to conceive before that, before the in vitro as well for William to be the full term and not over term baby that he was. And that leaves me at a very scary place, because the possibilities are terrifying." She looked at him, worry and fear in her eyes.

Doggett was letting this all sink in, and it was a hard one to swallow. He scooted closer to her and put his arm around her in a comforting embrace. "Whaddya think those possibilities are?" he asked very quietly.

Scully sighed. "I've thought about this for a long time and I see two possibilities, both horrendous to me. One is that several weeks before I had the in vitro done the Cigarette Smoking Man took me on this wild goose chase for this computer disk and there was one point where I fell asleep- or was drugged-and found myself in a different outfit. Perhaps he implanted the DNA in me." She shuddered at the thought of being touched by that man, and Doggett held her tighter to him. "Or the conception could be somehow from this alien chip I have in the back of my neck. Maybe it sent off some kind of signal that somehow impregnated me."

"But that would mean that William is-"

"Half alien," she finished for him.

This was all too fantastic for Doggett to believe. Aliens, chips, and mystery conceptions: this sounded like Mulder talking. "Dana, you don't really believe this, do you?"

She was silent for a long time then responded, "I've seen too much and experienced too much not to believe anymore. Believe me, I denied it for years, even in the face of personal experiences, but after time, I could no longer deny what I had been seeing with my own eyes. If you had seen what I have seen, you would believe too."

He doubted that, but did not doubt that she believed and that she was terrified. "Dana, look at your baby," he paused as they both looked at the still-sleeping William, "You can't believe he's half alien. He's perfect. He has your beautiful eyes and your delicate lips. He even looks like he may have Mulder's nose."

Scully let out a little half-laugh. "God, how I wish he were Mulder's, how I wish that could be an undisputed fact!"

"It can be. Why don't you just run a DNA test?" He stated the obvious.

"I've thought about it many times, but...I'm afraid of the results."

His heart went out to her, but he was firm in his words, "You can't let fear rule you. More than likely, the results will be a great comfort to you: that Mulder is the father, and should he not be, then we'd go from there. I will not abandon you. And Mulder wouldn't either," he threw in.

"Mulder...where is he now? I have no clue," she said with more anger in her voice than she intended. "His life is in danger, but William's..." she couldn't finish.

She didn't have to, Doggett knew what she was going to say and he agreed. He had often wondered why a man who seemed to be in love with her did not stick by her, danger or not. Perhaps since William's paternity was in some dispute, he did not feel as large a connection to him or Scully. Whatever the reason, Doggett knew that if he were in Mulder's shoes, he'd stick by her regardless of whether the baby was his or not. Doggett's love for Scully was so great; he would love her no matter what. He already did.

He gently pushed her from him so he could look into her eyes and said, "I want you to know you can count on me. I'll be here for you and William as long as you let me, and I'll see you through this danger. You will not be alone in this."

She knew he meant every word of what he said and the look in his eyes confirmed it. "Thank you," she said and gently swept the back of her fingers over his cheek. "I've kept you in the dark so much. I don't deserve your loyalty," she whispered.

"You do, and so much more," he said holding her gaze. He took her hand from his cheek and brought it to his lips, planting a soft kiss on the back of her fingers.

This man was too good to be true. She had such a desire to kiss him that if she stayed here any longer she knew she would. She looked down and said, "We probably should get going."

"Yeah," he said, lowering her hand and reluctantly letting it go.

They drove the rest of the way, mostly in silence, except for the "conversations" they had with William, who was now wide-awake.

It was late afternoon by the time they arrived and, after a brief stop at a local grocery store for some food staples, they drove up to the cabin.

"Here we are!" Doggett announced.

"Wow, it's bigger than I imagined! And the surrounding area is just lovely."

"Let's get everythin' unpacked and I'll give you a tour around."

"Sounds great."

With William in her arms, Scully stepped into the cabin, Doggett right behind her. He quickly turned off the alarm system they used since the cabin was vacant so often. He was glad for the added security it offered. Should any intruders attempt to enter, they would at least have a warning.

The place was large. It was decorated not rustically as she had envisioned, but rather elegantly, with dark furniture and beautiful Persian throw rugs atop fine hardwood floors. There was a large brick fireplace in the living room that took up almost the entire wall and the plush burgundy couches all faced toward it. The place had a rather old- fashioned feel to it, although the kitchen was completely modern with every convenience imaginable.

"You call this a cabin?" Scully asked astounded, having never seen anything quite like it, especially under the name "cabin".

Doggett laughed. "Well, my mom likes to decorate, what can I say? Wait 'till you see the bedrooms."

"Ooo," she said as they walked toward the back of the cabin. There were three large bedrooms, each decorated in a different color scheme. The master was done in deep royal purples and rich greens, the second in several hues of crisp blue and white and the third in elegant ivory with gold accents. "Wow, I'm impressed," she remarked in awe.

"Glad you like it. How 'bout you take the master bedroom. That way you'll have the bathroom attached and you'll have more privacy," he suggested.

She was about to protest, but the look he gave her said, "don't even try".

After Scully unpacked the few belongings she'd brought, nursed William, and freshened up a bit, she joined Doggett in the living room. He had already unpacked the groceries and was leafing through a magazine his mother had left behind, when she entered.

"William and I are ready for that walk around the grounds if you are," she said, the cheer in her voice surprising her. Funny how being here with Doggett felt more like a vacation and an adventure than a refuge from peril. Nevertheless, she was wary of danger and knew she would be keeping a watchful eye on the environs, looking for anything suspicious.

"Sure am!" he said and they headed out the door. After stopping at her car for William's stroller, they loaded him into it and started their walk.

They walked over to the lake that lay not far from the cabin, Doggett keeping a vigilant eye on their surroundings. The water reflected the crystal blue sky above and shimmered in the slowly fading light. Dogwood trees in full bloom surrounded the lake, casting lazy branches heavy with flowers toward the inviting water. They shown in full glory against the paling sky as dragonflies danced up and down.

"Boy, we used to play in this lake for hours," Doggett said, reminiscing. "See that tree over there?" he said, pointing to one with a rather large and heavy branch that jutted out over the water. "That one used to have a tire swing on it and we'd be on that thing all the time. Actually, my brother and I would fight over who got to be on it."

Scully looked intently at Doggett as he described the memories of his past. His face seemed so animate and full of joy. I felt good seeing him like this, so happy. As they walked, he told her many stories of his childhood and each place came alive for her in her mind. He seemed thrilled to share this past part of his life with her and his excitement was like that of a young schoolboy. At one point, while showing her one of his secret hiding places, he even grabbed her hand in his enthusiasm and even long after, he did not let it go. So by the time they had made the circle back to the cabin and the lake, they were still walking hand in hand as the sun was just setting.

They stopped in front of the water and watched the sky turn from bright pinks and oranges to greys and purples.

"Thank you for this lovely tour of the area. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed it," she said, feeling refreshed and light-hearted.

"I just hope I didn't bore you with all my childhood memories. I think I went a bit overboard," he said, looking at her.

"Not at all. I love seeing you like this, so happy, carefree, at peace. I've seen a side of you today that I haven't before and I like it; I like it a lot." John Doggett was letting her into his world and she was enjoying every minute of it. Never had she felt this comfortable with a man before--that was besides Mulder.

"Sharin' it with you makes it all the more special," he said softly. He could hardly believe how good he felt to be here with her. He studied her face in the waning sunlight and thought of how exquisitely delicate and beautiful it was. His heart beat faster as his eyes soaked up her beauty and, without letting go of her hand, he took his other hand and gently stroked the perfect porcelain skin of her cheek. It was flushed ever so slightly from the walk and it radiated vitality and life. He wanted to kiss her more than anything at that moment and all other thoughts vanished from his mind as he slowly leaned in towards her.

Suddenly, William let out a loud laugh, having seen a bird fly overhead, disrupting their would-be kiss. They both smiled and Scully turned her attention to the little man in the stroller.

"What did you see that was so funny, Sweetie?" she asked and gave him little tickles on his belly and under his chubby little chin. He giggled and was all smiles for his mommy.

"Shall we head in?"

"Yes, and this time I'm doing the cooking," Scully said firmly. "I'd like to do my part in contributing around here."

"Aye, aye, Ma'am," he said, giving her a small salute and a big grin. "And I'll entertain the big guy for ya!"

An hour later, dinner was on the table and they ate eagerly, the large dose of fresh air having given them a hearty appetite.

"I talked with Monica and told her we were here," Doggett said. "Also told her not to tell anyone our whereabouts and that she or Skinner should call us the moment they hear anythin' related to the threats on William. She said things have calmed down for the time bein', but I don't trust it. She also said Skinner wants us to stay put wherever we are and that he'll be contactin' us within a few days, if not earlier."

"I feel safe here, John. I hope these aren't deceptive feelings."

"You are safe. I'll make sure of it," he said, but had an uneasy feeling nevertheless.

After finishing dinner and putting William to bed, Doggett set the alarm, securing the perimeter of the cabin. Then he and Scully sat down in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace, sipping hot tea. This would become their nightly ritual. They talked and laughed late into the night, thoroughly enjoying each other. Well past midnight they both climbed into their respective beds, glowing with the feel of each other's company. Doggett was happier than he had been in a long time, although he felt guilty for this happiness in the shadow of danger. But this danger, more than any other danger or situation they had been through as partners or friends before, was bringing them together. With each passing hour, and with the information Scully had given him about Mulder and her relationship earlier that day, Doggett felt more and more like his love for her might not be unrequited after all. Would she have let him kiss her if William hadn't interrupted them? He thought maybe she would have. One thing was for sure: he was not going to pass up a possible happy life together with her; he would let his love for her be known when the time was right. Gun at his side, he fell into a blissful sleep.

Hours later he heard moaning coming from Scully's room. He bolted out of bed, gun in hand, and was at her door within seconds. Cautiously, he peered in and saw, with the aid of the full moon, that Scully and William were indeed alone in the room. She was having a nightmare. With his heart still pounding from the scare, he quietly walked over to her bed and sat himself on its edge. She was rocking from side to side, her lips trembling, and a thin layer of perspiration cast a sheen on her pale forehead. She moaned again in what sounded like fear and desperation.

"Dana," he whispered, careful not to talk too loudly as to not wake up the baby. "Dana," he repeated, putting his hands gently on her upper arms. At the touch, her eyes flew open and stared wildly at him, trying hard to focus.

"It's okay. You're just havin' a bad dream," he said soothingly, stroking her forehead.

The fog seemed to clear from her eyes and she suddenly sat upright, looked over at her sleeping baby, then threw her arms around Doggett in a tight hug. Automatically, his arms surrounded her and he cooed soothing words into her ear. Her body ceased its trembling and she said softly, "It was awful. They had William and were about to kill him and I was so helpless..." she said between sobs, "so powerless...."

"Shh, Dana. You and William are both safe. I won't let anythin' happen to you." He would protect them at all costs.

She nodded slightly and looked at him with a tear-streaked face. He gently swept away her tears with the pads of his thumbs, then kissed her on the forehead. "Go to sleep. I'm right next door," he said and moved to get off the bed.

"Don't go," she said under her breath. "Please just stay here 'till I fall asleep." She knew she sounded silly, but she couldn't shake this fear that had gripped her. She felt like danger could pounce on them at any given moment.

He sat down on the bed and pulled the covers over her as she lay back down. "Alright," he whispered, then watched her face change from fear and stress to peaceful serenity as sleep once again claimed her. Several minutes later, he silently crept back to his own bed, resisting the intense urge to climb into bed next to her and surround her with his body in literal, physical protection. He knew she was scared and hated that she had to live in fear like this.

The next few days passed much like the first with no sign of danger, but this made Doggett even more wary. He did not want to fall into a false sense of security and he couldn't shake this feeling that the danger was catching up to them. Scully, too, was sensing some sort of impending doom. But what else she could do, she did not know. Being in the alarm-secured cabin with Doggett, who never let either of them out of his sight, seemed the best option, at least for the time being. It was just this waiting for the FBI to find and eradicate all the threats that made her feel so crazy and powerless. The problem was it was difficult to know who or what the threat was; it came in so many forms.

By now Doggett and Scully had their daily routines down, trading off cooking and cleaning, taking a walk around the lake, and ending every day in front of a crackling fire. They were becoming closer and closer by the day and they felt completely at ease with each other.

One day, during dinner, Doggett got a call from Skinner. He informed him that his house had been broken into and searched through. They had apprehended another cult member at the scene, one of the few that had not perished with the others, that had told them that there would be more attempts on William's life soon. If these threats turned out to be real, something they'd be looking into the next couple days, Scully should consider letting him issue her and the baby a new identity. This was something that had crossed Doggett's mind as well and he told Scully about the call.

Scully knew what a new identity entailed: leaving all her family and friends behind and living a completely different life for as long as the danger lasted, even if it was indefinitely. She was loath to do it, especially since the thought of not seeing Doggett or her mother again was horrendous, but she knew that that was what she'd have to do for the sake of her baby. It was just a matter of time before they found them here at the cabin. All her feelings of dread were becoming a reality-again-and she knew that drastic measures were in order to keep William safe from harm. She felt like they were just waiting for the bomb to go off and she wanted to get to safety before it exploded.

Her mood was somber as they sat in front of the fire that night. She stared into the flames, not really seeing them, thinking of what it would be like to live without this man who was sitting besides her. In these past several days they had become so close; she knew without a doubt that she was very much in love with him.

Doggett knew all the thoughts that must have been plaguing her mind as she sat there, her gaze transfixed. He knew, because he was feeling them too. Just the mere thought of not seeing her anymore, not knowing where she was or if she was safe or happy, not being able to see her eyes light up as she looked at her son or hear the laugh that he had been hearing much more often in the recent past, that was too much to bear. She was a part of his life now, and he didn't want that to change, ever.

He reached his hand out and gathered one of hers in his. She looked at him, reading his eyes and knew that he had similar feelings at the prospect of her needing a new identity. A profound sadness washed over her and a single tear trickled from the corner of her eye. She didn't even know of its existence until she felt the warm, wet path it left on her skin.

Doggett positioned himself closer to her on the couch and gently cupped her face in his hands. Tenderly he kissed the lone tear from her cheek and pulled back to look into her eyes. What he saw there took his breath away. She loved him. He knew it like he knew his name. Once again his lips lowered to her, but this time they covered her lips in a slow, lingering, and caressing kiss. The tip of his tongue found hers, causing a titillating sensation and she deftly moved herself into his lap, needing to be closer. He moaned as he felt her tantalizing weight on him and she slid her tongue completely into his mouth, weaving with his in a rapture of desire. Pressing herself against him, she snaked her hand up the nape of his neck and pulled him even closer, further deepening the kiss, as his hands ran up and down her back in an effort to memorize every arc and bend. The feelings and desires the kiss brought them were so strong, they knew if they did not stop now, they would not stop at all. They parted, panting softly, and looked at each other in heady intoxication. Doggett placed a last, soft kiss on her swollen lips and they both lay down on the couch together, spooning.

They lay like that for a long time, letting their heart rates slow, basking in the warmth of each other as the glow of the fire covered them like a blanket. No words were necessary. As the mantel clock struck eleven, they silently went to their separate bedrooms, pausing briefly for an embrace and a tender kiss. They lay down in their respective beds and sleep took them in a whisper.

Hours later, Scully found herself awake with an intense yearning for her love. She got up and checked on her baby, who was sleeping soundly, took the baby monitor with her, then padded into Doggett's room. Silently, she slipped into his bed and gently draped her arm around his bare chest. Without missing a beat, even in his sleep haze, he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer and they slept in utter serenity.

In the early hours of the morning, at the sun's first rays, Scully woke to the sound of her baby's soft cooing. Turning off the monitor, she silently slipped out of Doggett's arms and went to her son. Lying with him on her bed, she nursed him, thoughts of Doggett and all they had shared last night running through her head like a beautiful melody. She felt such love in his arms, through his touch. The kiss had been a romance-novel kiss, one she'd never forget. Suddenly thoughts of a possible new identity pushed into her mind, darkening her bliss instantaneously. She loved Doggett; there was no way she wanted to live without him. But the possibility that she would have to loomed over her like the grim reaper. She had to be strong; she was strong, and decided to enjoy the time they had left together to the fullest and then do what she must. William was number one and she would do anything it took to protect her baby. She knew sleep would no longer come to her now, so she finished nursing and took William with her to the kitchen to set about making breakfast.

About a half hour later she felt Doggett's presence in the room and turned around. His eyes captured hers and spoke of all they shared, the love he felt, and the bittersweet feelings within his heart. She had come to him last night of her own accord and that was all he needed to know. In two long strides he was by her side, sweeping her into his arms and into a deep, soulful kiss. The spatula she had in her hand dropped to the floor and her arms surrounded him in an embrace that said she never wanted to let go. They parted and their gazes caught each other as he whispered, "I love you."

Her heart melted and sang and jumped and burst all at once, the words from his lips were the most exquisite she'd ever heard. "I love you too," she whispered, her eyes overflowing with that love as they met in another passion- filled kiss.

A burnt smell filled the air, jarring Scully out of her love and lust-induced intoxication. "The eggs!" she exclaimed, turning from Doggett to the frying pan. She grabbed the spatula from the floor and flipped them over to find them completely charred. They both laughed at the sight.

"I wasn't in the mood for eggs anyway," he said, pulling her into yet another kiss then letting her go, looking at her in all seriousness.

"Dana, I know you're scared about what awaits you in the next few days, but whatever it may be, whatever comes, know that we're in this together."

She gave him a small smile as her eyes filled with tears and she drew him into a tight hug. She did not know exactly what he meant, but she trusted him, and the comfort that that brought was incredibly healing.

The day passed quickly and they were enjoying their late afternoon walk around the lake when one of the other lake patrons came up to them.

"John? John Doggett?" an old man, who must have been well into his seventies, asked uncertainly.

Doggett looked at him and Scully watched his face go from suspicion to confusion to recognition. "Mr. Dobbs?"

"Yes, it's me, boy," he replied and gave Doggett a warm hug. "Great to see you here again after all this time!"

"You too," Doggett said smiling. Then to Scully he said, "This is Mr. Dobbs who ran the barber shop in town were Mike and I'd get our hair cut every summer."

He was about to introduce Scully when Mr. Dobbs said, "And this must be your new wife and child."

Doggett was stunned at the assumption. Scully quickly took his hand in hers and gave it a squeeze, trying to convey that the mistake did not bother her. In fact she rather actually liked the idea. But Doggett replied, "No, actually this is my fiancee, Dana, and her son, William." Had he just said "fiancee"? He had meant to say "friend"! He was completely embarrassed!

Scully was shocked at his introduction as well-had that been a Freudian slip? But she smiled brightly and went right along with it, extending her hand out to the old man who took it firmly.

"Pleased to meet you, Dana," he said, a gleam in his eye. "Looks like you're making John here one happy man." Scully smiled.

To Doggett he said, "Glad to see you've found yourself someone special to start over with. I'm so sorry about what happened to your wife and son."

Doggett was surprised at their unexpected mention and didn't know quite what to say. "Thanks," was all he could think of.

Then looking at Scully, Mr. Dobbs continued, "You know I used to cut Luke's hair too. He was a fine boy, just like his father."

"I'm sure he was, Mr. Dobbs," she replied. She could sense that Doggett was getting very uncomfortable, so she said, "It was a pleasure to meet you, sir, but we better be going since it's almost William's bed time."

"The pleasure was all mine," he said and took her hand, kissing the back of it.

Doggett was grateful for the opportunity to cut this reunion short. "Good to see you again. You take good care of yourself," he said.

"You too, John. And best wishes to you and your bride-to- be." The two men hugged, then Scully and Doggett continued on their walk.

When they were well out of earshot Doggett said, "I'm so sorry, Dana; I misspoke introducin' you. I hope I didn't embarrass you."

She touched his arm gently and gave him a coy smile, "Not at all, John. I didn't mind."

She didn't? That small fact made Doggett's heart burst with love and happiness. She didn't mind being called his "fiancee"! He knew that that was something he wanted to make real one day.

She watched an assortment of emotions cross his face before he gathered her in his arms and claimed her mouth with his. She tasted so sweet, so fresh; her kiss was incredibly healing. The mention of his son and wife had thrown Doggett for a loop and it had brought all the pain up to the surface again. Not that he hadn't thought of them since he had arrived here, hell, he thought of them almost everyday no matter where he was, but he hadn't been prepared to hear about them from an outside source.

Scully could feel his pain in his kiss and her heart ached for him. Gently she said, "You're thinking about them, aren't you?"

He sighed. "Yeah. Even after all these years, it's hard for me to talk about 'em. But I want to with you," he said slowly. "Let's keep walkin'," he said, starting up their pace again. He pushed the stroller with one hand and took her hand into his other.

A silence fell around them and Scully was wondering if maybe he had changed his mind. But she did not want to prod him; she could imagine how painful talking about it must be for him.

Finally he spoke, his voice cracking slightly. "Barbara, Luke, and I would come here every summer, just like I used to with my family. Oh, did we have great times here, so many wonderful memories." He sighed heavily. "I can't tell you how much I miss those times, how much it hurts to know they're gone forever."

Scully was fighting to hold back her tears. She squeezed his hand tightly, trying to pour her love and compassion into it.

"You know, as a parent, that's somethin' you just don't expect: to have your child die before you. It hit both of us hard, but it put Barbara in a place that she just couldn't get out of. I tried so hard to help her through those times. I did everythin' I could think of: counselin', givin' her more love and attention, talkin' to her about it or not talkin' to her about it, but nothin' seemed to help and she pushed me further and further away. And I needed her too! I needed her so much, and she just had nothin' left within her to give me." He paused, talking a deep breath. "One day, after I had gotten home from work, I found her lyin' on the bedroom floor with one of my service pistols in her mouth." He paused again, intense emotion hindering his speech.

Scully stopped and took him gently into her arms, and he grasped her so tightly she almost couldn't breathe. His body shook as he continued in a cracked whisper, "I'll never be able to erase that image from my mind."

Scully hurt intensely for him and she knew there just were no words that could adequately comfort, but she whispered, "I'm so, so sorry, John," anyway. She stroked his back in an attempt to soothe him. If she could only take the pain away from him, but she knew what it was like to lose loved ones, and that pain never went away, never completely.

Slowly he released her and looked into her tear-filled eyes. They held that deep, healing love and he felt so blessed to have her in his life. He knew he was being given a second chance at happiness with this wonderful woman before him and he would do whatever it took to keep it.

The tears in his eyes spilled silently down his cheeks and Scully kissed them dry. "I love you, John," she breathed and he took her in another needy kiss, desperate for her healing touch.

Lost in their passion, they did not notice the pair of eyes that watched their every move.

By the time they parted, the sun had sunk below the horizon and she said, "Let's go home." They walked the rest of the way, hand in hand, in silence.

After dinner, Scully nursed William and Doggett read him his bedtime story. With the baby down for the night, Scully took her love by the hand and lead him to the living room in front of the blazing fire he had built just before dinner. She gave him a passionate kiss then stepped back. He gazed at her longingly and caught the sultry and mischievous twinkle in her eyes. Reaching her hand back, she unzipped her simple dress and let it fall to the floor, exposing her ultra feminine figure. It was a bold and sexy, yet vulnerable move, but she wanted him to know that she was coming to him freely, without reservation, and that he had already claimed her heart and soul and now she wanted him, needed him, to claim her body as well.

Doggett stood in awe in front of her. Her move was entirely unexpected and the instant desire it sparked was apparent in his quickly tightening groin. She was simply exquisite. They way her white lace bra and matching panties hugged her voluptuous curves was sheer perfection and excited him to the core. Her skin was like the finest cream silk and gave off a warm, enticing glow in the firelight.

"God, you are beautiful," he breathed, his heart pounding at warp speed.

She smiled seductively and then said in a deep voice he barely recognized, "I think someone's overdressed." With expert agility, she undid his shirt buttons one by one at an almost agonizingly slow pace. Then she slid the cotton garb off of his well-defined shoulders and it fell to the floor. Her hands found his chest and touched every muscled hill and valley. The sight of his chiseled physique combined with his heady, masculine scent, reminding her of the night she had spent wrapped in his sheets, was so incredibly arousing, wetness gushed between her thighs, soaking her lace panties. She used every bit of control she had to keep up her rather leisurely undressing of the man before her and slowly unbuttoned his jeans and slid them deftly over his hard thighs, revealing tight, white boxer briefs that were barely able to contain his straining cock. That sight alone almost had her fainting on the spot, and she couldn't help but release a low, guttural moan.

That sound was the clincher for Doggett and he could restrain himself no longer. In one swift and fluid move he pulled her towards him and devoured her mouth with his. His hunger was insatiable and he kissed her in a feral, fiery frenzy, making her dizzy with lust. Her body melted into his and she could no longer stand by herself, but his strong arms kept her pressed up against him as he ravished her, his mouth working down from her lips to her neck to the peaks of her bosom. With expert precision he unclasped her bra, letting her breasts fall free. Gently, but quickly, he lowered her to the soft rug on the floor and immediately covered a breast with his mouth, his hot tongue dancing across her sensitive nipple, eliciting a string of soft moans. He worked both breasts evenly as his large hands roamed over the rest of her trembling body. Eventually his tongue traveled lower, leaving a searing, hot, wet trail behind. Before she knew it, he had removed her soaking panties and was at her apex, breathing in her delicate scent. It drove him wild with desire and he plunged his tongue between her sopping wet folds and into the inferno of her core. She cried out in ecstasy and wrapped her legs around his shoulders as he ministered to her every need. Within moments she was climaxing, her body convulsing around him in sheer pleasure. He climbed back up to her face and covered her lips with his in a profoundly deep kiss as her body reverberated with the aftershocks.

In another surge of intense desire, she rolled him over so that now she was on top. Quickly she pulled off his straining underwear, freeing his almost painfully engorged cock. She was awed at the sheer size of it and her eyes completely darkened in passionate desire. Grabbing it in her hand, she lowered her mouth over it, engulfing it wholly. He groaned loudly at the pleasure and almost came right then and there. He needed more than images of dead cats and old naked nuns to retain his control. At first she moved her mouth on him excruciatingly slowly, then gradually increased the pace, while gently rolling his balls in her hand.

"Dana..." he moaned, wanting to tell her that if she didn't stop he'd be coming any second, but he didn't have the strength to form the words.

But she knew and released him from her mouth, straddled him, and impaled herself on him in one fluid motion. They both cried out in pure bliss at the feel, and Scully took a moment to let her body accustom to his incredible size, then she moved on him, slowly at first then building up to a frantic frenzy. He watched her moving wildly on him, her breasts bouncing at the motion, and grabbed her hips, directing her angle. He caught her eyes as he exploded within her and at that moment she could see into his very soul. She rode out his climax, coming again shortly thereafter, then fell onto his chest, completely spent. He put a lazy arm across her back and the other on her head, urging her to look at him. She did and smiled the most satisfied smile he had ever seen. He returned it and pulled her down into another kiss. Even now he couldn't get enough of her and knew he wanted to continue this until the wee hours of the morning.

"I love you," he breathed into her.

"I love you too," she whispered. She couldn't remember ever feeling this loved, this content, this satisfied, or this happy before. John Doggett was her own private piece of heaven.

She laid on top of him as their heart beats slowed in unison until he slid out of her, leaving her yearning for him to be back buried deep within her. She rolled to his side and he engulfed her in his arms. They fell asleep in front of the dying embers of what was once a roaring fire.

About an hour later, they awoke and moved to his bedroom where they made love again and again with leisure, leaving no inch unexplored.

By the time they fell asleep again, the sun was just beginning to rise and the birds were already singing their morning songs. They slept so soundly that it took a few minutes for Scully to realize that that odd sound in her dream was, in reality, her baby crying. Groggily she walked over to her room and picked him up. He stopped his crying immediately and she returned with him to her lover's bedroom. Climbing back in bed, she laid him down next to her and nursed him.

Doggett awoke and watched the scene before him. He felt so privileged and blessed to be able to see and be a part of this again. He had watched his wife nurse Luke countless times and each time left him in awe. To him it was one of the most beautiful sights.

She smiled at him and wondered what he was thinking. She had never nursed in front of anyone other than her mother before, but with Doggett it just seemed natural, even special.

"Thank you," he whispered.

She looked at him rather confused. "For what?" she whispered back.

"For letting me share this with you. For sharing yourself with me-and I don't just mean your body."

She smiled. It felt good to finally open up to him, in every way.

"You're beautiful," he whispered and leaned toward her, kissing her tenderly on the mouth. "I love you so much."

She smiled again, this time her love for him radiating out of every pore. "I love you, John. More than I've ever loved any man in my life."

He kissed her again, careful not to crush the nursing baby between them, as his heart overflowed with love. He never thought he'd be this happy again.

The day passed in a blissful haze as they acted like newlyweds on their honeymoon. They took full advantage of every time that William napped by spending it making love. By the time night fell, they had christened almost every room in the cabin.

A phone call from Skinner put an abrupt halt to their joy.

"Scully...Dana, I'm afraid I have some bad news," Skinner said with sadness and concern in his voice.

Her heart sank at the words. She knew what he was going to say next.

"We have reliable information that the threat against your son has increased, in fact so much that I highly recommend you and William accept new identities as soon as possible until the threat passes. But I can't tell you how long that'd be. It could be weeks, months, even longer."

Scully listened in silence, feeling heavy and finding it difficult to breath. Doggett saw all her emotions displayed clearly on her face and he knew the news was bad. He took her free hand in his and made a decision. Finally she said, "I knew it might come to this. Please go ahead with the new identities for William and me." Her words were brave, but in her heart she was cowering in fear and grief. Her life as she had known it was going to end as soon as Skinner got those papers into her hands.

"I'm sorry, Dana. If there was any other way...but keeping you and William safe, that is of the utmost importance. I'll have everything ready for you by tomorrow evening. I'll give you a call in the morning and we can make out a meeting place."

Doggett motioned that he wanted to talk to Skinner as well.

"Alright. Agent Doggett would like to speak to you," she said handing him the phone. What he wanted to add was beyond her.

"Sir, I'd like you to issue me a new identity as well, as I will join Agent Scully and William," Doggett said firmly. Scully looked at him in surprise, her eyebrow arched. The man never failed to amaze her! Tears welled in her eyes and she gazed at him with great love. He held her gaze throughout the phone conversation.

Skinner was surprised as well. "Do you realize what you'd be giving up?"

"Yes, and it's nothin' compared to what I'd be givin' up if I were not to go with them." He paused. "Sir, we love each other and there's no way in hell that she's gonna leave without me."

Doggett's declaration of love did not come as a great revelation to Skinner. He had had his suspicions from the start. He was rather surprised that his love was not unrequited though. He thought Scully had something going with Mulder, but perhaps it was not the type of relationship he had imagined it to be. He was glad she was in love with Doggett. Doggett was a fine, stable, and dependable man. He knew there was no arguing with him and said, "Alright, Doggett, I'll get you a new identity as well. I'll have them all ready by tomorrow evening."

"One more thing," Doggett said, "Is it possible you could hold out on that, on all of ours, for say about an hour?"

Skinner was confused. "Why?"

"I'll let you know soon enough."

"Well, you know how urgent this is. No more than an hour," he said firmly and hung up.

Scully watched Doggett as he set the phone down on the kitchen counter. What was that last stuff all about? Why have Skinner wait; he knew how urgent this whole matter was?

"Let's sit on the couch," he said, leading her to the living room by the hand. "There's somethin' I wanna talk to you about."

They sat down facing each other. "There's something I'd like to say first, if that's alright," Scully said.

"Of course."

"John, I am so touched about you being willing to give up your current life to be with William and me and I love you for it, but I love you too much to let you make such a sacrifice."

Doggett took her hands in his and said in a deep, emotion- filled voice, "I love you, Dana and the thought of not bein' with you, not touchin' you, not makin' love to you for God knows how long is unbearable to me. I've lost before and there's no way I'm gonna let you slip away from me, unless...unless you'd really rather not have me by your side." He had to throw that in there, had to make sure that she did indeed want his love, that he was not forcing it on her.

"My God, John, do you have to ask that? I want you with me more than anything! I guess I'm just in awe that you would sacrifice so much to be with me."

"Then it's settled. I'm goin' with you."

Tears filled her eyes yet again and she smiled through them, throwing herself in his arms. "Thank you. I love you so much!" They embraced for a bit longer, then Doggett pulled back, having an important question to ask her, a very important question.

"Dana," she said, looking directly into her eyes and taking a hold of her hands again. He took a deep breath. "This is somethin' I probably wouldn't have asked quite this soon, but in the end it really doesn't matter, since I can't imagine lovin' you more than I do now. I love you completely. Your strength, your beauty, your laughter, the way you are with William, the way you make me feel, even your stubbornness and wacky alien beliefs...what I'm sayin' is that I love you wholly, every aspect of you, the whole package, includin' and especially your precious son, who I love just as much as his mother. I want to love you and make you happy every day for the rest of my life." He paused. "Dana, will you marry me?"

Her lips trembled and tears of joy that had been building throughout his heartfelt speech fell from the corners of her eyes as she gave him her unwavering answer, "Yes."

An explosion of bliss coursed through every part of his body and he pulled her to him, capturing her mouth with his. He kissed her like he never had before, conveying every bit of love he had for her in his heart, and offering up to her his very soul. She responded in kind, and where two bodies had joined, so had two hearts, and their souls fused as one for eternity.

Several minutes later they released each other, both with huge smiles on their radiant faces.

"The reason I had Skinner hold off on the identity thing was because I wanted to ask him to give the three of us the same last name, if that's all right with you."

Scully smiled again and said without hesitation, "Definitely. I want us to be a family in every way."

He beamed back at her and said, "Skinner's gonna have those new identities ready for us by tomorrow night, which doesn't give us much time, but I think we should go to City Hall and get married tomorrow, that way the marriage will still be in our real names and legal when we can return to this life and these names." He looked at her expectantly. He knew this was all so fast and he wished they had more time. She deserved a big church wedding with their families and friends in attendance.

Scully was in awe again. The love this man had for her was so obvious. She smiled at him brightly, "Let's do it! But there's one person I'd love to have there: my mother. Maybe Skinner can bring her with him tomorrow and they can be our witnesses."

Doggett jumped up, heading toward the phone. "Lemme give him a call and let him know about everythin'. I'm sure bringin' your mom with him will be no problem. Then we've got some details to plan." He flashed her a big grin.

As he talked with Skinner, Scully sat on the couch, thinking about all that had happened in the last hour. John Doggett had taken something that was so frightening, so heart wrenching, and so terrible and turned it around into something wonderful just like that. She had been so scared of what the future held for her and her child, but now she looked forward to it, to a life that was safe and secure, a life filled with love, a life with John Doggett. In the midst of terror and turmoil, she had found such happiness. Funny how life worked out that way sometimes.

Doggett cleared everything with Skinner. Mrs. Scully would be allowed to witness the wedding under the condition that none of the specifics of the new identity information was released to her. They would meet them at 4:00 at City Hall. Doggett called City Hall next and, as luck would have it, a justice of the peace was available at 4:00 tomorrow to do the ceremony. It was meant to be.

He then called Reyes, telling her of their plans to wed the next day and saying goodbye. She knew that they would be living under a new identity. Only she and Skinner would know the details, for it was highly top secret. She wished them well and congratulated them on their upcoming wedding. She had known for a long time that Doggett was in love with Scully. Scully was one lucky woman.

Doggett and Scully were both thrilled over their pending nuptials and spent a good part of the night discussing all the details of the following day, including the buying of the rings. Then they packed up the few belongings they had in preparation of tomorrow's departure. Around midnight they fell into Doggett's bed and spent the next couple hours celebrating their love as their bodies writhed, twisted, and intertwined in a dance of pleasure.

They were just about to doze off after another bout of passionate lovemaking, when the cabin's alarm went off, blaring loudly into the dead silence of the night. Immediately, they bolted out of bed--both buck naked--with Scully running to William and an armed Doggett right behind her. Within seconds Scully had the baby safely in one arm and her gun in the other.

"Stay here," Doggett said just loudly enough over the ringing alarm, and swiftly moved toward the front of the cabin. Scully wanted desperately to follow him, but knew staying put was probably in William's best interest. She grabbed her robe and quickly put it on, gathering the baby and the gun right back up.

In the dim light Doggett saw that the window next to the front door had been smashed, yet there was no sign of the intruder. Suddenly, he felt an excruciating pain rip through his head and he fell to the ground with the perpetrator on his back. He fought to keep consciousness and struggled with his assailant in the dark, trying hard to keep the large blade that gleamed in the moonlight away from himself. Miraculously, his gun was still in his hand and he fired it, aiming it at the person on top of him, but at the last second his hand was jerked away and the bullet tore into a nearby wall.

The sound of the gunshot made it crystal clear to Scully that she could no longer stay in the bedroom. Not knowing how many intruders there were, she took William with her, feeling that leaving him alone would bring him even more danger, and ran out to the front room. In the dimness she could make out two figures struggling desperately. She flicked on the light and shouted, "Hold it right there!" pointing her gun at the intruder. The sudden flood of light and voice out of nowhere startled the assailant and gave Doggett the opportunity to get the upper hand. He pinned the person--who now he could see was a man--down on the floor, pried the knife from his hand, flinging it across the room, and held the gun to his chest.

"Who are you?! Whaddaya want?!" Doggett demanded roughly.

The man looked back from Doggett to Scully to William, his eyes remaining on the baby. "He must die," he said frantically.

Anger rose in Doggett like water boiling over in a kettle. He grabbed the man by the shirt collar and twisted hard, cutting his flow of oxygen partially off. "Why, you bastard?! He's just an innocent baby!"

The man clutched at his own throat, trying to get Doggett to loosen his grasp, but Doggett did just the opposite. "Answer me!" he barked.

"If he doesn't then we will all die...all of humanity," the man croaked out, barely above a whisper.

His answer was still loud enough for Scully to hear and she stormed over to him, William firmly in her arm, and yelled, "Why? What's so special about him?"

At that moment they heard several police cars pull up to the front of the cabin. To Doggett, Scully quickly said, "Take William and put on some clothes. I've got him." He did as she said, emerging only moments later in a pair of jeans and nothing else other than the baby securely in his arms.

"Answer me!" Scully demanded, but the man stared at her blankly. Her anger was at its peak and she shook the man violently, shoving her gun under his chin. "You answer me now!" Once again he stared blankly at her.

Seconds later the police were surrounding them. "I'm FBI," Scully said, putting down her weapon and handing the man over to them. Doggett immediately stood by her side.

"This man broke in here intending to kill my baby," she said, trying hard to keep the panic and desperation out of her voice. "I need to find out why."

"We understand, Agent..." one of the officers said.

"Scully," she replied. "And this is Agent Doggett."

"I'm Officer Bailey and this is Officer Harris. Your house security sent a silent alarm to the station. Let's all sit over here," he said pointing to the direction of the couches, "and get a step by step of what went down."

About an hour later they had wrapped up as much as they could, with Scully and Doggett telling the police about the threats on William and that they were here to get away from these threats. Unfortunately, no matter how hard Doggett, Scully or the police tried, they could not get one word out of the suspect except, "I won't say a thing without my lawyer."

Skinner was called and informed of the night's events and he requested at least two twenty-four hour police guards be placed at the front and back of the cabin until their departure tomorrow. Harris and Bailey were happy to comply. They felt for this mother and her child. Promising to keep them abreast of any developing information, they left the cabin, the perpetrator shackled in the back of the squad car. Just minutes later two new officers arrived and after announcing their presence they got to work guarding the inhabitants of the cabin.

"Let me see your head," Scully said with worry, turning Doggett around for a better view of his injury. Gently she parted his hair where the blood was drying and saw a small cut and a large bump.

"It's fine," Doggett said turning back around.

But Scully was concerned. "Are you experiencing any dizziness or pain anywhere other than at the wound site itself?"

"No, Doc. Really, I'm fine." Although he could feel that the bump was rather large, he barely felt the pain; he was too concerned about what had just taken place and was worried more about her than himself.

She let it go for now, but promised to keep a watchful eye on him.

By now William was fast asleep again and Scully laid him on the couch, kneeling besides him and gazing at his little angelic face.

Doggett knelt down on the floor next to her and put his arm around her. "What is it about my son that so many people want to kill him?" She whispered, attempting to keep her voice even. "I don't understand. I've got to know!"

"We'll get some answers from that man. If the cops can't get through to him, then Skinner will."

"You're right, Skinner will get it out of him," she said, trying to be strong and positive, but not really believing it herself.

Doggett heard the edge in her voice and knew that she was at her limit. He gathered her in his arms and she let the tears flow unhindered onto his bare shoulder. It felt so good not to always have to be strong in front of him, to be able to let her guard down and just be, be whatever she was feeling at that moment. There was no one else she allowed herself to do that with, not even Mulder.

He stroked her back gently, trying to take all the pain and fear she felt into himself. Soon her tears stopped and she looked at him, her vibrant blue eyes shining with gratefulness and love. "Thank you for always being here for me. Thank you for just letting me be and being strong for me when I am not," she whispered.

He looked at her with deep love in his eyes and smoothed away her tears with the pads of his thumbs. "But you are strong, Dana. You're the strongest woman I've ever met."

She gave him a little smile.

"By tomorrow night, the three of us will be completely safe. We'll start a new life together, free from this nightmare you're livin'. I promise you, we're gonna have a happy life."

This time she gave him a huge smile. "As long as you are with William and me, I will always be happy."

"As will I." He planted a tender kiss on her flushed lips.

She gathered up her baby and the three of them settled together in one bed, William securely between them, knowing that the guards were doing their duty and keeping them safe.

Their last morning as Dana Scully and John Doggett arrived and, after nursing William, Scully headed for the shower. It was not five minutes later that she felt strong arms wrap around her waist and a hot mouth sucking from her neck to her shoulder. Her knees weakened instantaneously and she whispered without turning around, "Isn't it bad luck for the bride and groom-to-be to be engaging in such activity on the day of their wedding?"

Feeling the arousing pressure of his already-hard cock pressed against her derri=E8re, she knew what his answer would be. "That's an old wives tale," he said between kisses, sucks, and licks on her neck.

"Umm..." was all she could say as his large hands moved up to cup her breasts.

She laid her head back onto his firm chest and gave in to the pleasure. He kissed her upward-tilted mouth and she turned around in his arms, never breaking the kiss. The water sprayed warmly over their bodies as they kissed passionately, their hands gliding over each other, caressing every curve and plane. She pulled back, needing to look at what her fingers were feeling and the sight of his hard, muscular, slick body, standing so aroused before her suddenly made her feel like she had to have him inside her that very second. The primitive, urgent need was overwhelming and she moaned as she grabbed his steel member, raised a leg, which she quickly wrapped around him, and placed him right at her steaming entrance. He saw her intense desire and lifted her small body so both her legs could wrap around his waist and he easily pushed into her awaiting wet core. Together they moaned at the glorious sensation, then started their gentle pumping rhythm that lead to an increased pounding as they both soared to their climactic peaks. Falling over the edge together, they broke new records in pleasure, desiring each other so intensely as if it were their first time. They clung to one another, the water still running down their spent bodies as their heart rates slowly returned to normal. He eased her down and she leaned against him, her legs like that of a newborn fawn. She raised her head and brought his head down to hers in a concluding kiss, tender and full of love.

"I love you," she breathed, as she gazed at him with drunken eyes.

He smiled at his lover gently. "I love you," and kissed her again.

About an hour later they were both dressed and ready to go out. They greeted the guards, loaded William in the car, and headed to the local jewelry store. Doggett had felt a bit odd proposing to Scully without an engagement ring in hand. It was something he never would have done under normal circumstances. He was a rather traditional man and was glad that they were taking the first opportunity to remedy the situation, especially since this would be an incredibly short engagement. Any bit of happiness and security he could bestow on her would be a blessing in the wake of last night's nightmare.

He delighted seeing Scully's eyes light up as the salesman put a tray of diamond solitaire rings, ranging from one to two carats, in front of her. He had made it clear to her that she could have any one she desired. It was his first chance to spoil her and doing so with a ring that signified his love and their everlasting union was the perfect way in his eyes. After trying on many of the rings, she chose one that was his particular favorite as well: a brilliant, round, one-and-a- half-carat diamond in a high Tiffany setting, set in platinum. For the wedding band she chose a platinum band that surrounded the engagement band's diamond with two smaller diamonds framing each side. The rings together were exquisite and Doggett's heart leapt when he saw the joy in her face.

For himself he chose a simple platinum band without diamonds. He just wasn't the diamond-wearing type of guy. Too flashy, he thought.

After they made their purchases, putting each ring in a separate black velvet box, they left the store in high spirits. Doggett drove them to a secluded and incredibly scenic spot. Amidst a plethora of wild flowers he went down on bent knee and proposed to her again, this time slipping the diamond ring on her finger at her "yes". They spent another quarter hour kissing, until Doggett took her by the hand and lead her and William back to the car. There was another place he wanted to stop before they had to head back to the cabin and pack their belongings into the car.

He drove her to a small boutique and told her to pick out a dress to wear for their wedding. Her face shined at the idea, for she had nothing with her that was special in the least. She found something perfect for the occasion almost right away and kept the purchase hidden from him. She wanted to have the opportunity to make herself look extra special before revealing it to him. Their wedding day was going to be far from traditional, but she still wanted to look the best she could for him.

They headed back to the cabin and while Doggett loaded the car with all their belongings and a cooler stuffed with food, Scully busied herself putting on make-up and doing her hair. She was nervous, giddy, and excited all in one. Although being a bride was a large part of that, so was the reality that they were going to be starting a completely new life with new identities. But living without the fear and threat of constant danger was something she was greatly looking forward to. The stress and worry she had endured since William was conceived was taking its toll on her. If it hadn't been for Doggett, she surely would have lost her sanity by now.

Scully slipped on her new dress and appraised herself in the mirror. "What do you think, Will?" she asked the little man sitting in the corner of the room on a blanket. He replied with giggles and gurgles and a big smile. "Why thank you, Sweetie," she said, smiling back at her son.

Taking another look at her image, she was indeed pleased. The sparkle of her diamond engagement ring in the mirror caught her eye and she glanced down at it. It truly was an exquisite piece and looking at it, knowing what it symbolized, made her feel so incredibly loved. She couldn't believe what luck she had ending up with a man as wonderful as John Doggett. He was sensitive to her needs without making her feel dependent or inferior. He was loving--not to mention incredibly good in bed--without making her feel smothered. He treated her with respect-- had from the very start--and like a woman, and loved her son, paternity unclear and all. He was strong and loyal, and she trusted him completely. He was straightforward and traditional, yet full of surprises. He excited her in every way and the prospect of sharing a lifetime with him was a dream becoming reality. She felt blessed and said a little prayer before picking up William and leaving the bedroom.

Doggett was just walking from the kitchen to the living room when he heard footsteps behind him. He turned around to find Scully with the baby on her hip before him. She was drop-dead gorgeous and his mouth fell open at the sight. Her radiant beauty rendered him literally speechless as his eyes drank in the heavenly image. She was wearing a mid-calf length ivory sheath dress whose outer layer was all in heavy, quality lace. The neckline revealed just the uppermost swells of her breasts and the cap sleeves showed off her perfect, creamy skin. The dress hugged her every curve with the utmost flattery. Strappy high-heeled ivory sandals and a strand of pearls and matching stud earrings completed the lovely picture. She absolutely glowed.

She could see he was definitely pleased and watched with amusement as his lips moved, trying hard to form words. To see him so spellbound made her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. And at that moment she was.

He finally found his voice and breathed, "You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. I can't believe that I'm the lucky man who gets to have you for his wife!" In three short strides he was at her side, and he wrapped her and the baby in his arms, kissing her with a fiery passion that sent tingles directly to her groin.

It was several minutes before they parted and he said, "Shall we?" extending his arm. She took it and they left the cabin, looking back a final time at the place where their love had blossomed into full bloom.

Soon they arrived at City Hall, anticipation and excitement in their hearts. Scully spotted her mother and Skinner at the front door. She was surprised, but pleased to see Reyes with them as well. She pointed them out and Doggett parked. He took William out of the car seat and they walked together to the awaiting threesome.

"Mom," Scully said, tears in her eyes, as she threw herself into her mother's arms in a tight hug.

"Oh, Dana," she said simply, thrilled to see her and William unharmed. There was so much she wanted to say, but didn't know where to start. It was a bittersweet moment. "Honey, I am so happy that you found love with John. He is a fine man and I know he will always be there for you."

"Thanks, Mom," she said, wiping at her tears. She knew this was as tough for her mom as it was for her.

"I don't want you to worry about anything. Treat this new identity thing as an extended vacation. Enjoy your baby and new husband without fear and danger hanging over you. Everything will be here when you return. We'll have a big church wedding/welcome home celebration for you when all this has passed."

Tears were rolling down Scully's face again. "I love you, Mom," she said.

"I love you too," she replied. "Now no more crying. We can't have the bride with red, puffy eyes."

Scully laughed and wiped away her tears. Doggett, Skinner, and Reyes joined them, having talked through some of the paperwork Skinner had brought.

Mrs. Scully gave Doggett and William a warm hug. "I know you will make my daughter happy. You are a good man and I wish you all the best," she said to him sincerely.

"Thank you, Mrs. Scully. I will do everything in my power to keep your daughter happy. I love her with all my heart."

She smiled brightly, pleased to hear of his love for her, and one look into his intense blue eyes confirmed what his lips had just spoken. "I know you do," she said, then added, "Please call me Margaret."

He smiled. "Shall we go in, Margaret?" he asked, extending his arm.

"Yes, but I insist on holding my grandson. I've missed him so much."

"Of course," he said, handing her the baby.

He looked over at Scully who was talking with Skinner and Reyes and motioned with his eyes that they should head in.

Several minutes later they were standing in front of the justice of the peace.

"Do you, John Doggett, take this woman, Dana Scully, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health, and forsaking all others, being faithful only to her, from this day forward, until death do you part?"

"I do."

"Do you, Dana Scully, take this man, John Doggett, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health, and forsaking all others, being faithful only to him, from this day forward, until death do you part?"

"I do."

"Now you may either repeat your vows after me to each other, or say your own," the minister instructed.

Doggett and Scully looked at each other and, although they had not discussed it before, they both knew and said in unison, "We'll say our own."

The minister nodded to them both, then nodded to Doggett to begin.

Doggett took Scully's hands in his and looked deeply into her eyes as he said, "I, John, take you, Dana, as my wife. I promise to love, honor, and cherish you. I promise to always be by your side through thick and thin and promise to keep you and William safe and put you two above all else. I'll be the person you can always count on. I'll be the person to comfort you, to cry with you, to laugh with you. I promise you my fidelity and my undyin' love. My love for you is deeper and truer than any words could ever convey."

Scully's heart soared at his emotional words and she knew he would keep every promise he made. With tear-filled eyes she spoke her vows to him. "I, Dana, take you, John, to be my husband. I promise to love you forever in good times and bad. I will be faithful to you always in body and in mind, and honor and respect you. I will care for you and look out for you, comfort you and be there for you. I cherish your love and will treasure it always. You have my heart and I have given it to you freely and willingly and now you have the rest of me. I promise to love you all the days of my life."

A tear streaked down Doggett's cheek and he squeezed her hands in his. He felt so loved, something he never thought he'd be blessed with in his life again.

The minister presented the rings to them and said to them both, "As you place the rings on each other's fingers say, 'With this ring I thee wed'."

Doggett took the wedding band from the minister and slipped it halfway onto Scully's trembling finger. "With this ring I thee wed," he said, looking into her teary blue eyes, as he pushed the ring all the way on.

Scully then did the same. "With this ring I thee wed," she whispered in an emotion-choked voice and slid the ring on Doggett's finger.

"By the power vested in me by the state of Virginia, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride."

The minister had barely finished his sentence as Doggett swept Scully into a passionate, soul-baring kiss.

When they parted, the minister said, "May I present to you Mr. and Mrs. John Doggett."

They turned around with glowing smiles on their faces that matched the smiles on Reyes, Skinner, and Mrs. Scully.

After several hugs and congratulations, they all signed the marriage certificate and left the building.

They stood in the parking lot all knowing that this was goodbye. For how long, none of them knew. Mrs. Scully clutched William to her, kissing his tiny face and whispering her love to him. By the time she handed him to her daughter, tears had streaked her face.

"Mom..." Scully breathed, her heart heavy.

"Everything's going to work out just fine," she said, trying hard to be strong for her daughter. She knew her burden was so much greater. She was just so thankful that she had a man like Doggett to go through it with. "I love you and look forward to your return. You go make yourself a wonderful life with your new husband and baby."

"Thanks, Mom," she said barely able to speak through her own tears. "I love you."

They parted and Scully looked at Skinner. He had concern and love in his eyes and surrounded her with his large arms in a tight hug. "You and William are going to be safe now. I'll call you as soon as you can return. Good luck."

"Thank you. Thank you for everything." She returned his hug easily.

She then turned to Reyes. "John loves you so much, Dana. I am so glad that he found such happiness with you. You couldn't have found yourself a better man."

She smiled, knowing that Reyes had feelings for him that went deeper than friendship. "I know. I'm very lucky." They hugged tightly. They would miss their developing friendship, but they knew that they'd continue from where they left off the moment they could return.

"I promise to take excellent care of your daughter and grandchild, Margaret," Doggett said as he embraced her. "I won't let any harm come to 'em."

"I know you will protect them. I trust you, John, and I look forward to seeing you all as soon as possible. Enjoy your new life and your marriage. You have each other and that is what is most important."

He nodded and smiled at her, then turned to Reyes. She had tears in her eyes and, although she had so much to say to him, she could not get the words out. He noticed her deep emotion and gathered her into his arms in a loving embrace. "I'll miss you, Monica," he whispered in her ear. "You've been a great and loyal friend to me."

They parted and he watched as a tear rolled down her cheek. "I'll be back," he said, brushing it away with his fingers.

"I know," she said, giving him a smile. "I wish you and Dana the best. I'm so happy that you found love again, John. You deserve it." She forced back the fresh tears that threatened to fall.

"As do you," he said tenderly. Had he not met Scully, who knows what their future might have been. "I'll see you soon." They embraced one last time, then he handed her a letter he had written to his parents, explaining that he had to go away for a while and telling them about Scully and their marriage.

He then opened the car doors for his new family and they climbed in. Moments later they were waving goodbye through tear-filled eyes. Doggett took Scully's hand in his. "Everythin's gonna be okay; I promise you."

She smiled at him. "I know. With you by my side, everything already is okay. Besides," she said, looking at the file in her hand, "how bad can California be?"

He smiled as he turned the car west. "It's gonna be good."

She knew he was right. Their future as a family awaited them across the nation: a new life, a new identity, with one unwavering constant: their undying love. Love would see them through anything, it already had.


I hope you enjoyed this little piece of fluff. All my fan fiction (DSR as well as MSR) can be found at my website, The Fox and Hound, at: www.thefoxandhoundx-files.com

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