Night Shift

by Lynn Saunders

Title: Night Shift
Author: Lynn Saunders
Rating: PG-13 for a few naughty words, but nothing major Classification: Doggett-fic with a dash of angst, Implied MSR, Post-Ep for Alone
Spoilers: Alone
Summary: Until the dream goes away...
Feedback: Adored, re-read, printed out, and immortalized in a quality binder at Website: Distribution: Archive freely, but please drop me a line to let me know.
Date Completed: 3.5.2004
Disclaimer: Oops, not mine. Sorry.

Huge thanks to Carol and Sallie for always answering my beta call. You have such patience with my various neuroses. You ladies rock!

This is an experiment for me in many ways. I'd love to hear what you think.

Night Shift
by Lynn Saunders

In the dream, he's back again in the darkness, distracted by the smell of earth and rotting flesh. "Shoot," Mulder yells. "Shoot!" And he obeys, but in the dream there is no steadying hand, no reassuring word. In the dream there is silence. Now, the smell of fresh blood. In the dream, she loses her partner again, and it's his fault. All his fault.

She answers on the third ring, sleep-drunk voice in his ear. "Scully."

He pauses, feeling guilty for waking her, not quite sure what he was going to say.

"Hello?" She seems slightly irritated.

"Hey, I just had a funny feelin'... wanted to make sure you're alright."

"Oh," her voice softens, "everything's fine." She pauses, clearing her throat, awaiting further explanation, but he remains silent. "Are you okay?"

He thinks for a moment that he'll tell her, lay it all out and explain what he's feeling, but that's not the right thing to do. She has too much to worry about now. The baby is just weeks away.

"Agent Doggett?"

"Yeah, I'm alright. Sorry for wakin' you, Agent Scully. Goodnight."

"Goodnight," she says hesitantly, her brow furrowing in concern.

He pretends not to hear the rustle of her sheets or Mulder's whisper as she hangs up. "Scully? Come back to bed."

He doesn't hate Mulder. Anyone who inspires Scully to pursue a one-man search and rescue with reckless abandon, believe in paranormal phenomena, and smile to herself when she thinks no one is looking can't be all that bad.

He doesn't understand what happened to Mulder or how the man was brought back, and he's given up trying. Mulder's attitude was downright shitty, especially in the beginning, but he can't fault him for it. He can't say he would've reacted any differently had he been in the same position. Mulder seems to be slowly regaining his balance, making up for lost time. Mulder finally seems to realize how goddamn lucky he is.

Scully spoke of the challenges of the past year, how she wouldn't be here without him, but he sees her with Mulder and knows that this is only partially true. Without her partner, she was breathing, moving, going through the motions, but she wasn't truly alive. The re-emergence of the couple's easy camaraderie, with its inside jokes and solicitous touches, has brought out a side of Dana Scully that he barely recognizes.

She absolutely cannot lose Mulder again. So, he sips his lukewarm coffee, grimacing at the taste, and scans the street for anything unusual. And he'll be here in his car, searching her darkened windows for signs of trouble every night until the dream goes away.

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