OF THE MAINSTREAM
As the dust and noise settled, Scully heard the disturbed cries of
the stunned group of people milling about behind her and became conscious
of her own demeanour. With exasperation she wiped her face with her
She had to fight her feelings, and regain her Composure to overcome
this setback. Nonetheless the analytical part of her mind had been consumed
by a grief that was almost crippling - the mental image of
Scully refused to give up and clung to her one remaining silver of hope. Smith might have managed to get away in time, before the ship arrived. He had ample time, and he could simply melt into the crowd and appear as anyone. Mulder could still come back to her if she was quick enough. Her first priority was Mulder however, Smith would have to wait.
Desperate, she continued on, running as hard as she could back through the darkened woods on the path that had brought her here earlier. When she reached the clearing everyone had gone. Only Doggett remained, standing with his hands in his overcoat pockets, in a semi-circle of lightbox emergency lamps. Beside him was an evidence kit which he obviously had been using. He heard her noisy approach and turned. In the lamplight she saw his face was grim, even more so than before.
"Where is he Where have they taken him!" she shouted, breathless as she pulled up.
"The morgue at the hospital," Doggett explained and he
She turned to head back. "No, I've got to get him onto life support!"
Doggett was on her in an instant. "Agent Scully, it's too late
for that." He grabbed her arm, but she pulled flee so he made another
grab. She swung to avoid him. "Wait a minute!" he shouted and
threw his arms
"Get the hell off me!" she writhed, flailed out her arms,
and aimed a kick backwards into his shin that made him let her loose and
before he could recover fully, Scully slammed her shoulder into him with
Scully stood above him, her right hand bailed into a steel fist, her face creased in rage. He saw the tear stains stand out like silver streams in the lamplight. "Damn you," she shouted caustically, her voice full of venom, "what right have you got to keep me from Mulder!"
Doggett could not answer, he felt instantly guilty because she was right. This was none of his business. He wanted to explain, to tell her why, but he had never seen her like this: hurting, desperate, alone. He was simply interfering. Not for the first time were his suspicions aroused and he envisioned that here was a woman determined to protect the father of her baby, at whatever cost to herself.
Having dismissed him, Scully began to back away from Doggett, focused
only on getting to Mulder before any further interference. She turned
to leave but in her haste tripped over a half buried rock and fell
"Agent Scully?" Doggett extended a hand to comfort her. She flinched and recoiled but he persisted and she finally relented and allowed him to support her. She pushed herself up with her arm and turned to him, her face a mask of grief, her voice heavy and choking. "You said you'd help me!"
Her outburst was a stab to his heart because he had made that promise
in earnest. He would do anything to make things right. But how could you
put this right? He couldn't fix this. No one could.
She struggled to her feet with his help but once again she pushed away from him.
"1 have to get to him, don't you see. It may not be too late. I've got to find Jeremiah Smith."
"Who? That guy on the tape?" Scully wasn't making mush sense as far as he could tell. They hadn't even taken the man into custody. How could she possibly find him now? He was long gone.
Scully waved her hands in wonder. "All these years ... Don't
you see, Mulder knew it all along. The ship, Agent Doggett. They're here
and we're in danger."
"The aliens damn it!"
He almost clicked his tongue. "Don't talk to me about bounty hunters and alien space ships, Agent Scully. Not again. It's crazy talk."
There was no time to argue and she disregarded him with a wave of her hand. "Think what you like. It won't change anything. Where's Skinner?"
"Gone with the others. He's contacting the coroner."
"No, he can't do that! There can't be an autopsy. He doesn't understand."
"He's just trying to protect you, Agent Scully. You know that."
"No! For God's sake, Don't you understand- Mulder might still have a chance."
"A snowball's chance in hell." He couldn't understand her persistence when it was so hopeless. "Believe me I don't like this any more than you do."
Scully opened her mouth to speak when suddenly everything slotted into place and a totally different picture emerged. All that he'd said had a new meaning to her. She understood it all now. Slowly her expression and bearing altered. Doggett saw the change. She glared at him. "Case closed, is that it? You've found Mulder, so that's the end of it. Now you can get back to real FBI work and not be assigned to some BS unit in the basement. That's all you've been working towards."
"That's not so." Doggett was genuinely taken aback by the accusation but Scully ignored the hurt in his voice.
"Yes it is! It's been galling you right from the start, hasn't it? Having to work these worthless cases. Like you said, unexplained is just another word for lazy."
"You're right, I did say something like that, but I've learnt
different. None of these cases have been worthless. YOU showed me that."
He paused, trying to find the right words. "You're a good field agent
She crossed her hands defensively. "I'm not going to give up while there is still a chance. I owe it to him!"
Doggett jabbed the air with his index finger. "Look, you don't owe anybody anything."
She hesitated at sound of the sincerity in his voice, but only for a moment. "1 don't have time for this. Are you going to help me or not?"
He shook his head. "1 can't help you run the risk of making
She stopped and slowly swung to face him. For the first time her
expression softened. She spread her hands.
Her face showed her query, and he tried to explain.
"So what now? To become the believer is not enough? You have
to take up his hopeless cause too? Without support, without evidence,
to be ridiculed and belittled as he was? I don't mean to upset you Agent
She stood there facing his argument with stoic silence, her only sign of emotion came when she clenched her fists hard at the mention of Mulder's name. Scully lifted her head and squared her shoulders almost as a challenge and he was reminded of their confrontation all those months ago in the desert. Finally she said: "No. It's a cause worth living for."
The tone of her voice, the look on her face, the desperation of the plea, his desire to want to do anything to help her - somehow it didn't matter that she was wrong. Doggett walked past her to the trail. "1'11 drive."
The ride to the hospital was heavy with silence. Doggett wanted to
pursue a conversation, worried that maybe the fall had injured her and
that perhaps she should see a doctor at the ER but all he got were
In the end it was all wasted, her appeals were bluntly denied, and she was sidelined by a bureaucracy that appeared to be three steps ahead. Shortly after its arrival, Mulder's body had been seized by several men who the morgue attendant described as "government thugs" and was already in the process of being shipped back to Washington. No one knew where these orders had originated or why it was done so quickly. There wasn't an ounce of compassion about it, the action smacked of house cleaning, someone was tidyinc3 the evidence, tying up loose ends. Late the following afternoon Doggett and Skinner found Scully sitting alone at the picnic setting on the grassed area across from their motel rooms. They joined her there.
"1 think I might have got a line on who did this," Doggett informed her as he sat down. "But if I'm right we've got no chance of recovering Mulder's body before they're ready to release it."
Scully turned to him sharply. "Who, who are these people?" she demanded, her eyes drilling into his. She looked tired and he knew she had not slept.
"Spooks, Agent Scully. Not the supernatural kind either. Spooks big time. D,O.D., C.I.A., N.S.A., take your pick."
Skinner also pulled up a chair to sit down. He removed his g1asses and pinched the bridge of his nose hard. "He's right, Dana," he explained as he replaced the eyewear. "There's nothing more we can do. We've been denied access. I've made a few enquiries but Kersh is blocking our every move. In fact we've been ordered to return." He sounded as if he was annoyed by the interference.
She remained silent, nodding her head ever so slightly, not surprised by any of this. Finally she turned to Doggett, and asked: "Release the body to whom?"
"Next of kin, I guess," He suggested, shrugging his shoulders.
She made an almost imperceptible sound of derision and sadness. "Mulder doesn't have any more 'next of kin'."
"But he does," Skinner looked at her steadily and she met his gaze. "He nominated you after his mother died." Scully's mouth opened in surprise and the tears immediately welled up unshed in her eyes. "1 thought you knew," he added in a low voice but clearly she was unaware of Mulder's arrangements. He saw how affected she was and decided she needed more time to process the news.
"We'd better get ready to leave," he said, looking to withdraw
with reason. "1'11 square the paperwork with the manager." He
got up, turned slightly to place a hand on her shoulder briefly then walked
off in the
Doggett sat with her, lending whatever support she cared to draw from him, if she cared to draw any at all. He wasn't sure where he stood now or what would happen from here on in. One thing he was sure of, he had ruined any established trust because he had made a complete ass of himself.
For a long time he watched Scully trace a fingernail with great intensity on the plastic tabletop, trying to determine whether they were simply geometric patterns or if she was actually writing something. Then it dawned on him. She was writing 'Mulder'. Out of the blue she said: "About earlier..."
"That's okay," Doggett jumped in before she could continue. "My fault. Me and my big mouth."
He actually got a head bowed smile from her. "lt's just that..."
"1 understand, believe me, you had every right to be angry." He paused, then rubbed a hand over his chin, "hell of a right cross you got there," he observed in all seriousness.
Again a smile and she formed the words "thank you."
Perhaps their relationship wasn't totally in ruin, but he thought he should leave it at that for now. "Flight's in an hour, Agent Scully," he reminded her as he rose from the chair.
She nodded silently and looked up at him briefly.
Doggett read this as sign that she needed to be alone for a while,
so he went back to his room. At the door he paused. Scully had risen and
was staring up at the early appearing stars as if searching for something.
After his son's murder nothing seemed to matter. All that talk was crap - time healed no wounds. Truth was over the last few years he'd been on autopilot and not totally committed. Work was somewhere to be, something to do. He approached every assignment with anger and he knew damned well that feelings never helped to solve a case. That's why he guessed Kersh conveniently benched him at the X Files when he couldn't find Mulder. Skinner might have been right about him being on the fast track, once, but no longer. His career had spluttered and died as well after Luke. The revelation came in the pages of the X Files: he found that he and Scully had something in common, both of them had bright futures dulled by tragic circumstances. Her story, however - abduction, experimentation, the murder of a sister, cancer its remission and accidental wounding by friendly fire, made him ashamed of his own self pity. He'd seen her courage and endurance himself when cutting out that Goddamned thing in her back.
Doggett didn't know how she did it, standing up bravely to everything
that had happened to her. It was all there in the X Files. Any lesser
woman would have been reduced to a trembling basket case long before
He saw Scully raise a hand to her eyes as she bowed her head, but
only for a moment, then she clenched her fists as she tensed her shoulders
and arms and stretched herself to her full height. Doggett guessed what
she was feeling: she was channelling her grief into anger, and he knew
first hand Scully could be a fully fledged hurricane when her temper was
up. Every day would be harder now and this was her way of steeling
He had already decided he would he there come what may try and protect her, and her baby, from that danger even if he didn't fully understand what it was. He owed her that. Still, he worried that maybe anger alone wasn't enough. This wasn't just bad blood or malice. This was enmity.
--end of file--C L Goodwin 2002
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