What The Heart Wants

by Cassie

Title: What the Heart Wants
Author: Cassie
Feedback: Inspires writers. Please send to foxytime@yahoo.com Dates: First Draft - May 30 - July 21, 2004. Final Draft - July 27, 2004 Distribution: SHODDS, ATD, CSFTDS, The End of the Road, NFW, Spookys, XFMU. All others please ask.
Rating: PG
Category: MSR, dysfunctional DRR, DSR, angst Timeline: post-"The Truth" (in the year 2004) Episode References: Redux II, Fight The Future, How The Ghosts Stole Christmas, Release, Sunshine Days, The Truth

Beta: Alexa, Kristi

Summary: Doggett has to decide between his wife and the woman he never stopped loving.

Author's Note: This fanfic is my response to the July 2004 Fanfic Challenge at SHODDS. It is also my first fanfic that deals with the Mulder/Scully relationship in a nice and serious way. Yes, I've accepted that the relationship happened and I am beginning to use it in my stories.

Dedication: To Cathee for answering an MSR question I had which helped me to complete this story. Thank you sweetie!

All it takes for John Doggett to realize that his heart does not belong to his wife, Monica, is to see Dana Scully standing before him on his front porch. She is tired of and exhausted with life on the run with Mulder. He can see it on her face. Her eyes meet his and she quickly lowers them to the ground, hiding the regret she holds inside.

Mulder does all the talking. It's obvious that he runs this show. He is the decision-maker for the both of them.

"We can only stay here overnight, if you don't mind. Scully and I never like to remain stationary for too long," Mulder explains.

Doggett steps aside, allowing them entry into his and Monica's home. Mulder places his hand on Scully's lower back as he leads her into the house. Doggett watches Scully as she walks into the living room. She slowly makes her way around, pausing to look at framed pictures, books, and coffee table decorations. There is no doubt that his home is much different now than it was the last time she had been there.

"You two can have a seat. Mon' should be back any minute with dinner. Thursday nights are our Chinese take-out nights."

Mulder sits back and relaxes. He stretches his arms along the back of the couch, and looks at a picture of John and Monica on their wedding day. He cracks a smile.

"So you and Monica tied the knot, huh?" Mulder asks, somewhat surprised.

"Yeah, about one year ago." Doggett rubs the back of his neck nervously as he glances at Scully.

"I like what she's done to the place." Scully nods her head towards new bookshelves by the fireplace that weren't there a couple years ago. "At least you got to keep all of your books. I would have boxed some of them up and put them in storage." She says with a laugh.

The front door opens and Monica throws her keys into a small basket that she and John have on the table by the door.

"Johnny! Can you give me a hand with this? Your orange chicken weighs a ton!"

She enters the living room, carrying Chinese take-out. Mulder gives John a questioning look. How the heck do the two of them eat so much?

Doggett responds to his unsaid question. "We like to have leftovers to take to work for lunch on Friday." He shrugs his shoulders.

Monica's jaw drops when she sees Mulder and Scully in her living room.

"Oh my gosh. Fox, Dana? Let me put all this in the kitchen, and I'll come back and give you a proper welcome."

Mulder stands up. "Here, let me help you with that." He stands up and takes one of the bags from her arms. They go into the kitchen.

"John?" Scully's tired voice calls out for attention.

Doggett turns to her, crossing his arms across his chest.

"Would you mind showing me where a shower is? I would really like to get washed up before eating."

"Sure. The only one we've got is in the master bedroom upstairs."

Doggett leads her upstairs towards his and Monica's bedroom. There is awkwardness between himself and Scully. He never had a proper goodbye before she and Mulder disappeared from his life. He had been hurt by that, and seeing her now he knows that she must have felt the same way.

He looks back at her as they go upstairs. She is looking at the black and white photography of the Mexican landscape that Monica hung up soon after she moved in. Scully feels his eyes on her, and she gives him a smile.

Doggett smiles to himself. She is just as beautiful as she was the last time he saw her. It saddens him to see that she is not happy, and he wishes that Mulder could see that too. If only he could forget about government conspiracies and aliens, perhaps Scully could finally rediscover happiness in her life.

Over the past two years, Doggett has often wondered about what his life could have been like if Scully had decided to stay with him rather than with Mulder. He knows for sure that he would not be married to Monica.

He uses Monica and her love as a way to help convince himself that he doesn't love Scully anymore. He thought if he made himself love Monica, he'd be able to forget the feelings he has for Scully. It hadn't been easy, and now with Scully in his presence, he knows that the feelings he has for her never went away. They only buried themselves deep into his heart.

They enter the bedroom. Scully looks around. The bed is made and decorative pillows are thrown on top of the cream colored comforter. There are curtains hanging on the windows now, and the floor has been carpeted. Paintings of daisies and tulips hang on the wall. Doggett turns to speak to her.

"I'll go get you a-"

Scully rises on her toes and brings her lips to his. She runs her fingertips up his spine delicately, to his neck and into his damp hair. Her lips are soft against his. Doggett relishes the sensitive texture of her mouth. They both know that this first kiss may also be their last. It shouldn't be happening at all, yet he continues kissing her, selfishly, disregarding the fact that he is married, and Dana is not his to have.

His hands grasp onto her hips, and she leans further into his body, pushing her small breasts against his chest. Their hearts beat rapidly together as one. Scully releases her mouth from his for a moment. She inhales the scent of the man she loves. He smells clean. He must have taken a shower soon before she arrived. She places her mouth on his again in a slow and passionate kiss of longing and desire. She moans his name into his mouth, feeding his passion.

"John?" Monica's voice interrupts them.

Doggett quickly pulls away from Scully and looks at his wife. Guilt and lust are written all over his face.

"Monica, I didn't hear you come up the stairs." He runs his hand through his hair, swallowing his guilt.

Monica can't believe what she's walked in on. She looks from her husband to the petite redhead standing at his side. Scully does not make eye contact with her.

"I-I," Monica says with uneasiness. "I just wanted to let you know that we're ready to eat downstairs."

Monica awkwardly leaves the bedroom, not sure what to think about what she saw.

Doggett and Scully look at each other, knowing that what they allowed themselves to enjoy was not the right thing for either of them to have done.

Scully quietly excuses herself and enters the bathroom. Doggett stands alone in his room. He just got caught kissing Dana Scully. He's betrayed his wife. Why did he have to be such a jerk? There's no doubt in his mind that he and Monica will share an interesting exchange of words before the night's end.

The shower turns on, and he leaves to get a clean towel for Scully. He heads downstairs to retrieve the travel bag Scully brought to his house. He returns and places the towel next to the bathroom door. He places her bag on his bed.

"Dana! I set the towel down outside the door."


Scully lathers shampoo into her hair and rinses. Washing the dirt from her body feels good. It is a luxury that she and Mulder do not have all of the time. She misses her life in D.C. She misses her family and friends, and especially John Doggett.

When she decided to remain loyal to Mulder's quest, she believed that she could adjust to living life on the run. She always fears that one day they will be caught and killed. She sacrificed her life's dreams for the man she thought she loved more than anything in the world: Mulder. Yes, she loves him, but there's only so much of their life together that she can take.

At one time, Scully believed that she was doing the right thing by following Mulder. Running off with him seemed to be her only option. She has seen so much that she can not deny. She became convinced of Mulder's theories that there was a government conspiracy to cover up the alien plan to colonize the planet. At first she wanted to be by his side, at all times, helping him to find a way to prevent colonization. However, despite their failed efforts, she has come to a realization. She may only have eight more years before the end of human existence. She wants to live her life the way she's always wanted to rather than live life on the run, worrying about being killed for prying into confidential information.

During the last two years with Mulder, she was taught a lesson: listen to your heart and follow its desires. She told Mulder that she missed the east coast, and that she would like to see her friends if only for a little while before they go off on their next mission to try to prevent alien colonization. That is how she convinced Mulder to come to Falls Church. She explained to him that the men who are after him for what he knows and what he's doing wouldn't think of looking in Virginia for him. She hopes this is true. She would never want to endanger Mulder's life. He's too important to the world for her to risk that.

She may have said that she wanted to stop in Virginia to see her friends, but inside she knows that her real reason for coming here is to see if there is reason for her to stay. That is why she kissed John Doggett, to see if he feels the same way for her as she does for him.

She loves John Doggett, and it didn't take her long to realize this. They made a connection the very first time they met and that spark never died. He respected her when she tried to push him away by being rude or inconsiderate. She should have known that her behaviour towards him was her way of preventing herself to fall in love with him. She loved Mulder. She trusted only Mulder, but over time she also learned that she trusted John Doggett, and from that trust love developed.

She loves Mulder, but he always withheld important information from her. He would ditch her to go on dangerous missions that he claimed could save the world from alien colonization. He says that he trusts only her - and she believes this to be true - but why can't he trust her completely? She is sick of this, being treated like she can't handle the truth. She told Mulder that she loves him very much, but if they are going to last he needs to let her be a part of what he is doing. He needs to stop protecting her by not telling her what their next move is and what information he has uncovered. He needs to trust her completely. He tried for a time, but then fell back into his habit of keeping information from her.

When she worked with John in the X-Files Division, she was always treated with respect. She withheld information from him, yet he remained loyal and honest to her. She had hurt him over and over, but he continued to trust her. His devotion to protecting her was exactly what she needed. She felt safe with him as her partner. She knew he would never ditch her to run off after some case at the spur of the moment. She never felt that he was keeping secrets and telling her lies. He was mature and never made her feel guilty for decisions she made. He never tried to use her sympathy to get her to do anything she did not want to do.

She admires him for being able to separate his personal life from his work life. When she was first assigned to the X-Files, she tried to do the same thing, but was easily sucked into Mulder's quest. The quest to find out the truth about his sister, revealing government conspiracies, and ultimately discovering the truth about the alien plan to re-colonize the planet. As a scientist it wasn't hard to become invested in Mulder's quest, or the work they did in their cases and she's never regretted that she did.

However, she regrets not having her own life.

Another reason she fell in love with John is because she saw that her dreams are a reality in his life. He lives in a home with a white picket fence, he has a social life, he has friends outside the FBI, and he's had a child of his own that he raised with his first wife. He is someone that she knows could bring her happiness. He'd be able to understand her needs better than Mulder ever could. (God bless him, he tries.) She loves John for the possibilities she could have with him, but now he is married and seemingly she has no chance of ever being with him. His friendship is all she can ever hope for.

She feels guilty for disrespecting John's marriage. She never should have kissed him, especially after she found out that he is married to Monica. She just had to know what it was like at least once to kiss him. She is surprised that he responded to her the way he did. When she kissed him, she wasn't sure what to expect. She didn't know if John had ever had similar feelings for her. She felt that he had before, but he never said anything or did anything to suggest that he was interested in her beyond friendship. Not until this evening.

Scully hopes that their kiss does not tear John's marriage apart. That was never her intention. But what if this is exactly what fate has in mind for them? What if that kiss was the beginning of the path they had to take in order to end up together? Only time will tell. She shakes her head, not believing her thoughts to be true.

Scully turns off the shower and reaches outside the door to grab the towel. It's an older towel, dark brown, definitely one of John's. She dabs the soft fabric over her skin and then wraps the towel around her body. She steps out into the bedroom. She smiles, seeing her travel bag on John's bed. She walks towards it and digs in, pulling out a white T-shirt and jeans.

Downstairs, Doggett, Monica, and Mulder are seated around the dining table, waiting for Scully.

"Do you know where you two will be headed tomorrow?" Monica asks Mulder.

"I can't say. It's best you don't know, I don't want to endanger more lives than I have to."

"How much danger is Dana in?" Doggett asks. "I figure not as much as you. Mon' and I aided in your escape and we still hold our jobs with the Bureau."

"I'm the one they are most interested in capturing, but I don't doubt that they would punish Scully if she were caught with me too." Mulder pauses. "The XFiles are still open?" Mulder didn't expect this.

"No. They were closed, the office emptied." Doggett explains.

"What division are you in now?"

"Office of the Director, head of OPR." Doggett smiles with pride. This is a great promotion.

Mulder laughs. "You must be thankful that I'm no longer employed by the FBI. Saves you paperwork and headaches." He looks to Monica. "What about you? Where'd you end up?"

"Criminal Investigations."

Mulder nods his head. "I'm surprised they're not taking such a good agent and using your skills to their advantage in the Counterterrorism Division. Especially in the aftermath of nine-eleven. I've heard that you've got amazing intuition. The Bureau could really use that in the war against terror."

Scully enters the dining room and takes a seat next to Mulder, across the table from Monica and John.

Monica flashes Scully a bittersweet smile, letting her know that she is not happy with what she saw upstairs earlier, yet still remaining the polite hostess. Monica rests her hands calmly in her lap.

Scully looks around the room. "Didn't you have a computer in here before?" Scully's voice suggests that she would like to pretend that nothing happened between her and Doggett.

Monica answers, "Well, it turns out that John has a room upstairs that he had been using for storage. We made it into his home office."

"Better keep a good eye on him, you don't want your husband surfing around on those porn sites. He'd probably accidentally download a virus." Mulder jokes.

"Mulder, you're the one who'd do that if given the opportunity." Scully jokes back, lightly punching his shoulder.

"Why'd I need to do that when I've got you?" He leans over and kisses Scully on the cheek before returning to his meal.

An awkward silence passes through the room for a few minutes as they all enjoy their dinner. Mulder pauses and looks at each one of them. He senses that something is "off" between them. He attempts to break the tension.

"So, how did you two end up together anyway?"

Monica swallows her fried rice and sets down her chopsticks. "Well... after you and Dana left the ruins in New Mexico, John and I returned to D.C. Life went on as usual. We were no longer partners when John got his promotion, and I was reassigned to CID. We continued to make plans to meet up after work, and as time went on feelings developed between us-"

Doggett interrupts, "- I tend to believe that Mon' had these feelings for me long before I had them for her."

"It's not like I had to twist your arm to get you to fall in love with me." Monica gives John a look, indicating that this is far from the truth.

"Seems like that basement office has the power to make its occupants fall in love, huh?" Mulder asks jokingly.

"It sure does." Scully looks directly at John.

"Yeah..." Doggett's voice is a whisper.

Mulder nods his head. "Sometimes I wonder if Agents Fowley and Spender fell in love down there." He laughs. "If it's true that love works its magic in the basement, I'd love to see Kersh sit down there for a couple months with some female partner, hopefully that would loosen him up."

Mulder drinks from the glass of water in front of him. Another moment of silence engulfs the room. Mulder notices and looks at Scully. She is picking at the sticky rice with her chopsticks, making no attempt to eat it. He looks across the table at Doggett and Monica. They are engrossed in their meals. Mulder speaks up.

"I feel like I'm missing something here. Anyone mind telling me what's going on?"

Monica wipes a tear from her eye and angrily stands up.

"I can't believe you, John!" She is upset.

Monica storms into the kitchen with her plate, smashing it into the sink, glass shatters everywhere. Mulder raises his eyebrow and looks to Doggett for answers. He gives none. Monica storms through the room again, heading upstairs. She says nothing and looks at no one. They hear the bedroom door slam shut.

"If you'll excuse me for a moment." Doggett rises and follows his wife up to their bedroom.

The door is shut. He knocks as he opens it.


Monica is standing in front of the window, with her arms are wrapped around her waist. Her body language is not inviting.

"I thought you worked through this, John." She's calmer now, but that doesn't mean she's less angry or upset with him.

"I thought I did, Mon', but when I answered the door and saw her standing there, all those feelings I have for her came rushing back. I guess I never did get over loving her."

Monica slowly turns around to face him.

"John, marriage is a promise of loyalty, honesty, and faithfulness. You can't just forget your vows because a woman you can never have walks back into your life."

Doggett looks to the floor. She is right. Marriage is a promise to be faithful. If he breaks that promise, it will just add one more failure to his list of failures in life.

"Do you want to be with her?" Monica wipes another tear from her eye.


"If she and Mulder weren't together, would you leave me for her?"

Doggett's mind says `yes', but his mouth quietly says "No."

Monica knows that his answer is not sincere.

"Does she love you too?"

Doggett doesn't know what to say. He never imagined that he'd ever see Scully again. He thought he'd never have to deal with this situation. All he can think is yes, he believes Scully loves him too. How could he deny that after what he felt from her in their kiss? He looks into Monica's eyes. His eyes tell her the answer to her question.

Monica walks over to their bed and sits down. Her mind is telling her to leave him. She doesn't need to be married to a man who is in love with another woman. Her heart keeps her mouth from telling him this. She loves him. She can't imagine her life without him.

There's a soft knock on the door. Mulder pokes his head in.

"Just want to let you know that Scully and I are going for a walk."

Doggett and Monica don't respond to him. The tension in the room is thick.

Mulder nods his head and steps out of the room. Scully waits for him by the front door. They step out into the chilly evening air, and walk to the end of the driveway. The sun is almost completely below the horizon. Mulder reaches down and holds Scully's hand. He gives it a gentle squeeze. They walk quietly even though there is much to be said.

Mulder lets out a heavy sigh and tilts his head back to look up at the clear night sky.

"What are you thinking about, Mulder?"

"John and Monica. I never would have guessed they'd have marital problems." He looks down and grins. "At least we're okay, right?" His question is deliberate to get her to talk to him. He feels that something is bothering Scully.

Scully feels Mulder move his fingers around her hand. She can't keep secrets from him. Secrets are what keep their relationship weak, and she has kept her secret from him for too long. She owes him honesty. She needs to let him know how she feels for John Doggett.

"I kissed John."

She removes her hand from his grasp. She feels horrible about betraying him.

Mulder can't believe he just heard these words come out of Scully's mouth. He didn't expect for her to be the reason why Monica is upset with Doggett. Why would she kiss Doggett? Does she love him? Had they been in a relationship before he was charged with murdering Knowle Rohrer, and Scully didn't want him to know about it? He needs to handle this conversation carefully. He's been known to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. He doesn't need to do that now.

"Do you love him?" Mulder tries to keep his voice from revealing the hurt he feels inside.

"I don't know. I'm not sure what I feel. I know that I have these feelings for John, and I believe he feels the same way for me." She pauses and looks Mulder in the eyes.

Mulder grins sympathetically. It deeply hurts him to hear this from her. He loves her so much and thought that she loved him too.

"Before you returned from your abduction, and when you left after William was born," Scully continues. "I realized that John had these feelings for me. I imagined that if I was never to see you again that I could find happiness in loving him." She bites her lower lip. "I was afraid of what you might think of me if you found out that I fell in love with him too. So I chose to distance myself from him the best I could. I ignored my own feelings. I tried to push John away by hurting him, and acting like I did not trust him." Her voice breaks as tears threaten to break through her tough exterior.

Mulder nods his head, encouraging her to continue.

"It hurt me not to go with John when he and Monica came to warn us that they knew where we were in New Mexico when we were supposed to be heading to Canada. The moment I followed you, I didn't understand, but later I came to realize that I left the opportunity I had to lead a normal life when I didn't get in the car with John and Monica."

Mulder breathes deep as he takes all of this in. How could he not see this in her over the past couple years? Had he been so blinded by his quest and the truth that he blatantly ignored the feelings of the one person he cares most about in life?

"Are you happy with me?" he asks hesitantly.

Scully looks at him, surprised.

"Of course I am, it's just..." She hesitates to finish her sentence.

"This isn't the life you want to be living." Mulder states, knowing what she was going to say. She's hinted at this for years.

Scully smiles. Mulder always knows what she is thinking. The two of them have a special connection that will never be broken. He is her first love, but like most first loves, the relationship does not last forever. Now is a time of change for both of them.

"When I was a little girl I kept a journal. In that journal I expressed my hopes and dreams for the future. In one entry I described the man I would love for the rest of my life... loyal, strong, compassionate, determined, honest, and not without his faults. Mulder, you fit that description to a T, as does John."

"I sense a `but' coming."

"But... there have been a countless number of times when you have not been completely honest with me when it mattered the most."


"I do love you, Mulder. A part of me always will, but I want-" Scully corrects herself. "I need more in life than running from men who want you dead. It has put my life in danger. I don't like living this life. I thought I could get used to it, but I haven't. I'm unhappy."

Mulder closes his eyes to prevent tears from falling down his face. He slowly opens them and looks into her eyes as he speaks.

"I understand. The heart wants what the heart wants, right? Who am I to tell you what you can and cannot do? If you want to leave me and live a normal life and be with John Doggett, I wish you all the best and I hope you two find a way to be together even though he's married." Mulder is reluctantly accepting her decision to leave him.

Mulder is hurt that Scully no longer wishes to be with him. He walks quickly back towards Doggett's house. Scully sighs. She knew he wouldn't be happy with this. He had gotten used to her being by his side for so many years, and now she was leaving him to follow her heart She runs after him.

"Mulder! Slow down. Talk to me."

She grabs onto his arm to stop him. He turns to her, with tears welling in his eyes.

"Scully, I'm going to leave tomorrow. If you really believe that you will find happiness here with John Doggett, I don't want you to come with me. I want the best for you and if leaving me is what you need to do, I'm not going to stop you."

"Mulder, this isn't just about my feelings for John, it's about me wanting to live my life and enjoy it in the next eight years in case you can't find a way to prevent alien colonization."

Mulder gives her a hurt look, loosens her grip on his arm, and storms away.

Scully watches him, knowing very well that his reaction to this information is his way of projecting guilt onto her in an attempt to make her leave with him tomorrow. He's done this to her many times in the past. Mulder tends to play on her sympathy for him in order to get her to do as he wishes or to convince her to see things from his perspective. From using her sympathy for him, in order to try to talk her into spending Christmas Eve at a haunted house (in which she is convinced he stole her keys from her to get her to follow him inside). Telling her that she's his "one in five billion" when no one else would believe him. Hell, once he even dared to suggest that her life was his life. Thankfully he never completed that sentence. He even tried to convince her to leave him to become a doctor, insisting that she get as far away from him as possible. She had always chosen to stay by his side. That is until now.

For a moment she thinks that she should go with him. So he can continue to have some happiness in his life, but she's already sacrificed so many years of her life pleasing Mulder and following him. She cannot refuse the needs of her heart any longer. She will stay in Virginia, no matter what.

When Scully returns to Doggett's home she hears John and Monica arguing upstairs. She shuts the front door and sees Mulder sitting on the couch with the TV remote in his hand. He's channel flipping.

She quietly joins him.

A door slams upstairs and Monica comes running quickly down the stairs and into the kitchen.

"I can't deal with this anymore, John!"

Doggett chases after her. "Dammit, Monica! You just don't understand!"

"Don't understand?! John, I've dealt with your feelings for her since the day you asked me out on a date! And now, even in marriage, your heart still belongs to her and not me. How would you feel if one day, out of the blue, I told you that I still love Brad Follmer? How would that make you feel?" She glares at him. "Oh and before you answer that, pretend for a moment that you're actually in love with me!" She cries.

Mulder and Scully look at one another. They shouldn't have returned so soon.

"I tried, Monica! I tried to love you the way I love Dana, but you never stopped to realize just how difficult that is for me."

Monica rolls her eyes at him and turns her back to him again.

"Don't go and do that, rolling your eyes and turning your back to me." Doggett says accusingly.


"Why did you propose to me if you never really loved me in the first place, John?" Monica calmly asks, with anger still boiling in her blood.

"I don't know." He says softly.

"Yes, you do, but you're afraid to say it out loud. You're always afraid to admit your feelings out loud."

"You want the honest answer, even if it hurts?"

Monica nods her head.

"I thought if I were with you in a relationship that I'd be able to rebound from the feeling of loss that I had after Dana ran away with Mulder." Doggett tells her.

Monica turns around and looks past Doggett and into the living room at Scully.

"Do you want a divorce so you can be with her?" She looks her husband in the eye.

Doggett hesitates. Their marriage hasn't been the greatest. If he were sure he could be with Scully, answering her question would be easy. Unfortunately, he doesn't know if Scully is going to stay here or leave with Mulder tomorrow morning.

"It's not that hard of a question to answer, John." Monica is disgusted with him.

"I don't know."

"You don't know." Monica heads back into the living room. "Why don't we ask Dana what her plans are for tomorrow. Would that help you decide?"

Monica glares at Scully. Scully isn't sure if she should speak up or not. Doggett enters the room, his arms crossed in front of his chest.

"Well Dana? Are you going to stay here or go with Mulder?" Monica asks.

"I'm staying." Scully's voice is weak.

Monica looks at Doggett. "Do you want a divorce? Or would you like to have some time to discuss your possibilities with Dana before you answer me?" She swallows her anger. "That way if she doesn't want to be with you, you can come back and lie to me, saying that you want to stay married to me."

"I need to talk to Dana, Monica."

Monica's eyes burn anger right through him. She calmly and quietly goes back upstairs. Doggett lets out a heavy sigh.

"Mulder, do you mind if Dana and I go someplace else to talk?"

"Why don't you ask her?" Mulder isn't happy with all that is going on either.

Scully looks up at Doggett.


She stands up and follows John out of the house and into his truck. They are quiet as he pulls out of his driveway and heads out onto the highway. Scully fiddles with her hands, not sure what she should say to him. He senses her uneasiness. He clears his throat.

"Do you like star-gazing?" He glances over at her.

"At times it was the only form of entertainment for Mulder and I."

"Do you like it?"

"Of course I do." She smiles.

"I know this great place out a bit where there's little light pollution. You can see so much, even satellites that we've put up in space."

"I'd like that."

Doggett takes an exit and turns onto a small road, heading out into the middle of a field. After a few minutes, he pulls off the road and puts the truck into park, a few meters from the roadside. He grabs a thick blanket from the backseat and gets out of the truck. Scully follows him to the back of his truck. He holds her hand and helps her up. They sit down on top of the blanket, their backs against the back window of his truck.

"So, you're staying here?" He's not surprised that she made this decision.

"Yes, I am." She turns her head to look at him in the moonlight. She sees that he's still slightly worked up over his fight with Monica. She reaches over and holds his hand. "There's no need to jump straight into that conversation, John. Why don't you tell me what you've been up to recently."

Doggett is relieved that she wants to take time to get into the serious discussion they need to have about what happens between them next.

"Well, I've been pretty busy with OPR. I like to work on my truck when weekend weather is good. I got Mon' to go to a NASCAR race with me a couple months back, but mostly I've been occupied with work."

"It's a great promotion. Is Kersh still worried about you beating him to the Director's chair?" She smiles.

"No. I'm a bit suspicious about it myself. He was appointed Director by the President not too long after the incidents that went down when Mulder was on trial for Knowle Rohrer's murder."

Scully takes a moment to register this. That could only mean that "they" got to Kersh too. She'll need to be careful around him to ensure Mulder's safety and her own.

"Where have you and Mulder been? I'm sure you've visited pretty remote locations."

"I'm not sure of all the places we've been. Mulder didn't always let me know what he was up to. I know we stayed in Corona, New Mexico for a few days."

"Corona? Never heard of it."

"An almost non-existent town where alleged UFO debris was collected around the same time as the Roswell Incident of 1947."

"Ah, now I understand why Mulder would want to go there." He smiles at her. "I'm sure you just loved that."

Scully's smile fades as she remembers back to her time in Corona. Mulder was paranoid about being traced by the chip that had been placed in the back of her neck, the chip that put her cancer into remission.

"John... there's something I need to tell you that may help you come to a decision about what to do with Monica."

Doggett looks at her and sees pain and sadness in her eyes. A tear slowly falls down her face.

"While we were there, Mulder removed a chip from my neck. It was put there years ago to put my cancer into remission. Without it, I risk the possibility of the cancer returning." She wipes the tear from her face. "If that happens, I will die."

She cries quietly. It's only fair to him that he knows this. Why would he want to be with someone who could die of cancer in months or years from now?

Doggett wraps his arms around her shoulders and pulls her near him. He kisses the top of her head and gives her an assuring squeeze.

"If you're telling me this so that I stay with Monica, it's not going to work. Don't deprive yourself of love because you're afraid I won't be here for you if your cancer does return. I'm always going to be here for you Dana."

Scully cries harder, "I feel awful for coming back into your life and tearing your marriage apart. It was never my intention to hurt Monica or Mulder, and that's exactly what I've done."

Doggett says nothing. He never wanted to hurt anyone either.

"Dana... I brought you here at first to tell you that I wanted to stay with Monica and work things out. I thought that if I gave up on my marriage so soon, that it would be another failure in my life. However... if I continue to pursue a relationship that has never been sincere instead of following my heart, that would be another failure. My heart only wants to love you, and if I deny myself that - and you - that would be the ultimate failure in my life."

Scully pulls away from him. She can't believe that this is really happening. She looks at him, wondering why she ever thought it was a good idea to run away with Mulder in the first place. She also worries about what Monica thinks of all this.

"Monica hates me, doesn't she?"

"Monica doesn't have it in her to hate anyone. She'll be bitter, but it won't mean she hates you. As for me, I can say without doubt that I'll be the exception." He cracks a smile, trying to lift the sadness surrounding them.

"What am I supposed to do tomorrow after Mulder leaves?"

"Well, I can tell you that your mother misses you and would love to see you."

Scully lifts her head from his shoulder. "You kept in touch with my mom?" She is surprised.

"She contacted me to see if I knew where you had gone. I think she felt like she had some contact with you through me." He laughs. "Heck, once she even joked that she thought we were involved in a secret love affair while we were partners."

This brings a smile to Scully's face. "She tends to have quite an imagination sometimes."

"Yeah, you should have seen her and my mother when Mon' and I were planning our wedding."

"She helped with your wedding?!" Scully buries her face in her hands, embarrassed that her mother did this.

John smiles. "I couldn't imagine my wedding without that `Scully' touch."

Scully looks at him. "I hope she didn't embarrass you."

"Not too much."

Scully sighs and leans back against the truck again.

"Well, I apologize for anything she said or did that embarrassed you."

"No need to apologize, she was quite charming. Much like yourself."

He rubs the back of his hand against the side of her face. Scully joins her hand with his and holds it, looking deep into his eyes. He gently kisses the back of her hand, his fingers weaving through hers.

"We should probably head back so you can talk to Monica. You can let her know that I'll stay with my mother until your divorce is final."

She squeezes his hand and then gets out of the back of his truck. He follows her lead. Once their seatbelts are fastened, John starts the engine.

"I'm sorry about that kiss earlier, I'm not sure what got into me." Scully still feels bad for having done that.

"No need for an apology, Dana. It's not like the kiss wasn't welcome."

Doggett pulls his truck back onto the dark road and they head back to his house, both of them feeling positive about the outcome of the night's events. The taillights of John's truck fade off into the darkness of the night as they begin the next chapter of their lives.

The ticking of the clock on the living room wall has the potential to drive Mulder into a deep sleep. However, Mulder is kept awake by watching TV in closed-caption, Thursday night Must-See-TV. Mulder is glad that there are better programs on channels other than NBC.

Monica enters the living room, she's now in her pajamas: John's old Marine Tshirt and black cotton pajama shorts. Her hair is up high in a ponytail. She sits down cross-legged on the couch next to Mulder. She looks curiously at the television. Why is he watching TV with the captions on?

"And I thought you were sitting down here quietly, meditating or something. What are you watching?" She wants to make casual conversation.

"Without A Trace."

"Oh. John and I thought of watching that once, but preferred not to watch programs closely associated with what we do at work."

"It's a good show, despite the fact that the FBI doesn't have a Missing Persons Division. It's actually pretty accurate in terms of procedure - unlike other shows I've unfortunately watched." He smiles.

"Why are you watching it with captions?"

"Habit. Scully's a good sleeper, but also a light sleeper. Whenever we stayed somewhere with a television, I'd stay up at night watching the news to catch up with current events. The first couple of times she tolerated the volume, but later told me that it would keep her awake, so I turned down the volume and turned on the captions."

Monica sighs and stares at the TV. She never got to know Mulder very well despite hearing so much about him. He's an interesting person, and she wonders what he thinks of this whole John-Dana charade, but isn't sure if it is something she can bring up with him.

"You want to know what I think about Scully being in love with your husband, don't you?" he asks.

"How did you know?"

Mulder shrugs his shoulders. "Because I'm wondering the same thing about you."

"It hurts, you know? After all this time he still thinks that he's in love with her."

"You don't think he loves her?" Mulder asks.

"No, I know he does. I'm trying to convince myself that things are going to work out the way I'd like them to."

"I understand. I've been thinking about what would have happened if I never got abducted, and Scully never met John. However, I'm a firm believer in fate so I figure them falling in love with one another was inevitable anyway. Their life paths would have crossed eventually, even if I had never been gone." Mulder sighs. "What I feel now is that I'm the bad guy. I feel I'm the one that made the decision to take Scully away from her friends and family. When in all actuality, she is the one that could have chosen otherwise if only she would have told me how she really felt. I was led to believe that she was content being with me."

"She wasn't?"

"She claims that she still loves me."

"Do you doubt her?"

"I don't. I just know now that it isn't the kind of love that I thought we had." Mulder looks at Monica. "It's like how you know that John loves you, but not in the way you'd like him to. They'll always love us, but they'll always be in love with each other."

"You never seemed to me to be a man who could talk seriously about love."

"Something I learned from Scully." He pauses. "You got any sunflower seeds?"

Monica shakes her head.

The sound of a key unlocking the front door silences them. They do not look at the door as it opens. Doggett and Scully enter the living room. John gives Scully a look and then speaks to Monica.

"Monica, can I talk to you upstairs for a moment?"

Mulder gives Monica a sympathetic look as she stands to go talk to her husband. They walk up the stairs and back into their bedroom. Doggett's back is to Monica. He doesn't turn to face her right away.

Monica is too anxious to sit down. She stares at her husband's back, preparing herself for the worst. Doggett breathes deep and then turns to face her. His eyes show her respect, sadness, and regret.

"Monica... I owe you an apology. I never should have lied to you about my true feelings when we got together. I shouldn't have used you as a pawn in my game of trying to convince myself that I was no longer in love with Dana. The fact is I never stopped loving her. She's decided to stay, and I can't imagine not being with her." He pauses and looks down at his feet. "I'm sorry."

His words crush her heart and leave her speechless. She wants to yell and scream at him. Slap him across the face, but she can't. She swallows hard.

"It's good to follow your heart, John." She's always been supportive of him and feels she should now.

"Dana is going to stay with her mother until our divorce is finalized."

Monica nods her head and wipes a tear from her eyes. She can't believe that this is happening.

"That's good. Her mom misses her so much. It'll be good for them to catch up."

Monica sits down on the side of the bed. John joins her.

"You okay?" There's much concern in his voice.

"I don't know, John. All this came out of nowhere for me. Yesterday we make love and today we decide to divorce." She stands up and heads toward the closet. "I guess this means that I should find someplace else to go tonight. I'm sure Brad wouldn't mind a house guest for the next few weeks."

"Mon' you don't have to rush out of here."

"Yes, I do." She pulls a duffel bag out of the closet and begins packing it with clothes. "I'll stay at the Holiday Inn tonight. You remember how to contact Brad, right?"

Doggett nods his head, stands up, and leaves the room. Once she hears he is out of hearing range, she breaks down crying uncontrollably. The pain she feels in her heart is unbearable. She grabs the ring that hangs on her necklace chain, holding it tightly in her hand. She thinks about the man who the ring belongs to, Brad Follmer.

First she lost Brad when he was put into the Witness Protection Program. Back then, things were slowly working their way to bring her and Brad back together. She got to say her final goodbye to him in the hour after their secret wedding in Los Angeles in 2002. When the DOJ explained to them that they were going to fake Brad's death so the mob wouldn't bother to look for him, Brad took her hand in his and gave her his wedding band. She now wears that ring around her neck at all times, a symbol of the love she once shared with Brad.

A few months after she married John, she received an official DOJ letter containing an email address. She knew it could only be a contact address so she could communicate with Brad. Through their communications, he told her the new name he is using and where he is living now in case she ever wanted to give up on her life in D.C. to be with him. She told Brad that she was living a new life with her husband, but she didn't want that to interfere with their friendship. She should have run off without warning to be with Brad, especially considering all that has fleshed out here tonight.

Monica finishes packing her bag and she throws the strap over her shoulder as she heads downstairs. Doggett, Scully and Mulder are sitting in the living room talking.

"John. I'm leaving now." She tries her best to control her emotions, but tears continue to stream down her face. "Fox, Dana. It was nice seeing you two again, I only wish it could have been under better circumstances."

Monica walks to the front door and leaves, not wanting to linger on her past here any longer.

The past twelve years of Mulder's life keep replaying through his head, not allowing him to sleep. The first time he laid eyes on Scully, the last night they made love to each other not less than a week ago, and tonight's events. He can't believe that it is all coming to an end. He rolls onto his side and stares at Scully as she sleeps next to him. He gently touches her arm, running his fingers up and down her soft skin. No one else in this world has ever understood him as much as this woman, and no one ever will.

He hopes that he can continue to do this on his own. For years Scully has been the power behind his determination. He fears that without her he will have no motivation and he will never succeed in preventing colonization.

She is the one person he cares about most in life. He hopes and wants her to find happiness in D.C. He knows that Doggett will love her and take care of her. This brings him some comfort, but not much. Scully is better off with Doggett rather than with him. Her life will not be at risk anymore.

Mulder hears footsteps coming down the stairs. He rolls over and sees Doggett walking towards the kitchen. Mulder pulls the blanket off his body and sits up, placing his bare feet on the floor beneath him. He walks into the kitchen, where Doggett is making coffee.

"Good morning, John."

Doggett is surprised to see Mulder up so early.

"You're up too? It's a little after four in the morning." Doggett comments.

"Couldn't sleep."

"Me too." He pauses. "Dana sleep well last night?"

"She always does."

Doggett nods his head and scratches the back of his neck.

"You want decaf, or something with a little kick?"

"Decaf. I don't want to get dehydrated. I'm not sure where today will take me."

"What time are you heading out?"

Doggett reaches into a cupboard and pulls out two coffee mugs: FBI and LoonyToons.

"Within the hour." Mulder answers. "I should go get dressed and ready for the day."

"Wouldn't be a bad idea."

Mulder leaves the kitchen. Doggett sits down on a barstool at his kitchen counter and looks into the living room. Mulder is quietly maneuvering around so he doesn't wake Scully as he digs through his bag, pulling out clothes. Scully moves slightly under the blankets, unconsciously reacting to the small noises that Mulder makes.

Doggett is nervous about what will happen after Mulder leaves. He and Dana will be alone together since Monica left last night.

What will they talk about? Will she want to go straight to her mother's? There's so much for them to catch up on. Will she want to stay and talk with him? Will they discuss their future? Probably none of the above.

What if she wakes up and decides to leave with Mulder anyway?

Several minutes later, Mulder is back in the living room, dressed in jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt. He stares out the living room window, leaning against the side of the sofa sleeper that Scully is sleeping in. His future always seemed certain knowing that Scully was at his side, but now as he looks out into the morning darkness, he's not so sure about the future anymore.

"Here's your coffee, Mulder."

Doggett walks from the kitchen with the FBI coffee mug in his hand. Mulder takes it from him.

Doggett looks down at Scully. She's still sleeping peacefully. Mulder shows no indication that he's going to wake her up before leaving. Mulder catches Doggett watching her.

"She's going to make you happy, you know." Mulder sips his coffee.

"I know."

"She's the glue that holds me together. I don't know where I'd be in life without her." Mulder chuckles. "Probably sitting in some medium-security prison because of all the felonies I've committed while employed by the FBI."

Doggett laughs too. "Yeah, I'm surprised Kersh didn't shit himself when you impersonated him. I almost expected him to report you as a felon then. You weren't even a special agent at the time you did that."

"Ahh... you see that is why it's good to have friends in high places. He may not have shown it, but at the time Kersh was a friend to the X-Files."

Mulder lifts the coffee mug to his mouth and finishes the drink. He takes the empty mug to the kitchen.

"I better head out now, while it's still dark."

"Are you going to wake Dana?"

Mulder doesn't respond. He doesn't want to wake her up. It would be easier for him to leave her that way.

"I wasn't going to."

"I think you should." Doggett gives him a stern look.

Mulder's eyes look behind Doggett, and at Scully. She's awake now and walking toward the kitchen. She runs her hands through her hair to straighten it out.

"Good morning." She yawns.

"I was just about to head out." Mulder looks her in the eyes, hoping that she will change her mind and go with him.

Mulder walks past her and back to the living room. He picks up his bag. Doggett and Scully follow him. He heads to the front door. Before he opens the door he speaks to them. He coughs uncomfortably.

"I wish you two all the best." He extends his hand out to shake Doggett's.

"It was nice to see you again, Mulder. Hopefully, we can meet up later down the road."

"After I save the world, right?" He smiles.

Mulder's eyes fall on Scully. Her head is hanging low. She looks up, feeling his gaze. She steps toward Mulder and wraps her arms tightly around him, resting her head against his chest.

"I'm so sorry, Mulder." She whispers through her tears.

"Don't be sorry. This is what you've always wanted." He kisses the top of her head. "I'll always hold a place for you in my heart." He caresses the side of her face and then steps away from her, opening the door.

"You take good care of her, John."

"You know I will."

Scully joins Doggett, her arm sliding around his waist. Mulder gives them one last smile and then steps out of the house, shutting the door behind him, and walking out of their lives once again.

Scully breaks down crying.

Doggett pulls her into a protective embrace to comfort her. She grasps onto him, not wanting to let go. Her knees give out on her and he helps her back to the sofa sleeper. They both lie down, not leaving each other's embrace. She lies her head on his chest and he feels her tears soak through his T-shirt. Her tears are those of sadness and relief. He kisses the top of her head and runs his hand through her hair.

He knows that things will be difficult for them at first, but over time life will get easier. For now he will do what he can to comfort her.

Doggett sighs and closes his eyes. Finally, their hearts have what they most desire: each other.

The End

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SHODDS July 2004 Fanfic Challenge"
- Post-"The Truth"
- Doggett/Reyes married (or romantically involved - you decide). - Reyes comes to the realization that Doggett is still in love with Scully despite the fact she is on the run with Mulder, she tells him to follow his heart. - Scully and Mulder show up at the Doggett's for protection from those who are after them.
- What will Doggett do?
- Story should include some aspect of the XF mytharc.

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