by m. butterfly
Rating: PG for m/m affection, coarse language
Category: M/Sk
Spoiler: DeadAlive
Archive: Yes
Summary: Doggett comes face-to-face with a monster--The Green-Eyed Monster, that is.
Author's notes: Don't have a heart attack or anything, but this is one of my rare standalone stories--that is, one that is *not* set in my "Resuscitation" universe. I meant to write this a few weeks ago, but RL just kept getting in the way. Feedback welcome and cheerfully answered if you write to me at walfox@yahoo.com.
Acknowledgments and dedication: Heaps of thanks to Elizabeth, with whom I watched DeadAlive following ConneXions, who provided both inspiration and the title, and who beta'd this with her usual grace and good humour. This is for her and everyone else who thinks there should be *way* more M/Sk fanfic out there.
Disclaimer: The characters of Fox Mulder, Walter Skinner, Dana Scully and John Doggett are the property of Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and Fox Broadcasting. No copyright infringement is intended, and I don't make a dime off this stuff.

by m. butterfly

Agent Scully was with Agent Mulder.

Of course she was, goddamnit. Where else would she be?

Well, there was no fucking way that John Doggett was going into that fucking hospital room. He was in no big hurry to meet the great, not-so-late Fox Mulder. And he was in no mood to watch Scully fawn all over the guy.

Hell, he might as well go home. Nobody *here* needed him. That was for damned sure.

"Agent Doggett?"

He hadn't heard the door to Mulder's room open, nor Scully come out from behind it. "Agent Scully."

God, she looked beautiful. She was glowing, and not in the way a pregnant woman glows. Damned if she wasn't smiling. All the way up to her eyes, which were brimming with--love.

"What are you still doing here, Agent Doggett?"

What indeed?

"I just thought I'd see if you needed anything before I go."

"Oh. Well, I could use a lift."

Doggett blinked at her owlishly. "A lift?"

"Uh-huh." She patted her swollen belly. "My car's not here, and I'm too tired to wait for a cab."

"But, uh, what about Agent Mulder?"

"What about him? Oh. Did you want to meet him? Because I don't think now would be a good time."

What the hell did she mean by *that*?

"No, Agent Scully." Doggett ran a hand through his spiky hair. "I don't want to meet your--Agent Mulder. The thing is, I'm kinda surprised that you're not gonna spend the night here. With him."

Scully arched her eyebrows. "You are, huh? What exactly are you implying, Agent Doggett?"

With a sweep of his hand, he indicated her bulging mid-section. "You're having his baby, aren't you? You're his family, right?"

"Wha--? Oh, brother." Scully waddled back toward Mulder's room. "C'mere."

He followed, albeit reluctantly. At this point in time, he really didn't want to come face-to-face with the legend that was Fox Mulder.

But, instead of opening the door, Scully stopped a couple of feet before it and turned to him.

"Listen," she said quietly, gazing directly into his eyes. "Not that it's any of your business, Agent Doggett, but Mulder and I are *not* romantically or sexually involved. Yes, he's the biological father of my child, but we weren't even in the same room at the time of conception. Furthermore--"

Even Doggett's ears were turning crimson. He could feel it. "Maybe I should go."

"Just a minute," she told him in a voice that brooked no argument. "Take a look."

She stepped aside so that Doggett could see through the window of Mulder's room. Much to his astonishment, the patient wasn't alone. There was another man in there--a big balding man wearing a startling white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, no tie, no glasses--and it took Doggett a few seconds to figure out who it was.

"What's AD Skinner doing here?" he asked Scully in a low whisper.

"Shhh. Just watch."

Skinner was sitting in a chair to Mulder's right, looking down at his hands, which were folded and resting on the edge of the bed. Mulder's eyes were glued to him, obviously listening intently, but Doggett couldn't hear a word of what Skinner was saying.

A moment later, Mulder reached out and put a hand over both of Skinner's and said something that caused the other man to raise his head. Skinner's lower lip and chin were quivering, and he extracted one of his hands from Mulder's grip to wipe at his eyes.

Then Mulder touched Skinner's cheek, slid the hand around to the back of Skinner's neck. Skinner let himself be pulled into Mulder's arms, and pressed his face into the front of the thin hospital gown.

Doggett tore his attention away from the window and took Scully by the elbow, shuffled them several feet down the hall. "Agent Scully, what's going on here?"

She put her small hand on his forearm and squeezed gently. "They're both good men, Agent Doggett. You can take my word for it. Good men who've been through a lot since I've known them. And, as far as I can tell, they've been in love with each other for years. But they've been either too stubborn or stupid or just plain scared to do anything about it. Until now, apparently. All those months that Mulder was missing and then buried, Skinner was as good as dead himself. I guess they've finally come to realize that life is too damned fleeting to leave some things unsaid.

"So you see, *John*," she continued, leading Doggett back to the window, "there's no reason for you to feel threatened by Mulder. Unless you're in love with AD Skinner, too."

"No, ma'am." The corners of his mouth quirked up. "He's a great guy, and I enjoy working for him, but that's about as far as it goes."

"Good," she whispered, gesturing toward Mulder's room, "because I don't think you'd stand a chance with him."

No kidding.

Skinner was now sitting on the bed with his back to them, holding Mulder's face between his palms like it was made of spun sugar, and they were kissing. Quite passionately, in an engagingly awkward sort of way.

"Uh, I really think we should go now," Doggett whispered.


But they both watched as the kiss ended and the two men melted into a tight, protective embrace.

Then Doggett gasped as Mulder, his chin hooked over Skinner's shoulder, suddenly opened his overly bright eyes and smiled at them. Okay, not at *him*, but at Scully, who nodded at her partner while smiling right back.

"C'mon," she said, tugging at Doggett's coat sleeve. "Now that I know he's okay, you can take me home."

He offered her his arm, feeling both foolish and wonderful. "My pleasure, Agent Scully."

"Maybe you could try calling me Dana."

"Uh, sure, Dana. Anything you say."

"Now, *that's* what I like to hear from a man."

Although she laughed when she said it, he knew that she meant it, more or less. But he didn't care, because he also meant what he said. Like his two colleagues back there in that hospital room, Doggett was a decent man who'd suffered more than his share of pain and loss, and had been given another chance to find happiness. And he wasn't about to squander it, either.

Yes, life was indeed too ephemeral to leave certain things unsaid. Before this night was through, Dana Scully was going to hear something pretty damned important from John Doggett. And he had a gut feeling that he'd be hearing something similar from her.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

May 6, 2001

I wanna be the minority
I don't need your authority
Down with the moral majority
'Cuz I wanna be the minority
- "Minority," Green Day

Bored? Check out my website: http://Skinner.Mulder.com/walfox

Archived: May 07, 2001