Title: "Unattainable"

Category: V, Doggett-centric, DSR, UST, DA, hell, maybe some MSR

Spoilers: "Alone"

Disclaimer: Doggett, Scully, Mulder, and Mulder Jr. do not belong to me. Neither does Leyla Harrison (the agent). They all belong to Chris Carter and 10-13, and no copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Note: I left it sort of open-ended... you can decide if anything comes of this. ;)

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Doggett shuffled aimlessly down the hospital hallway, his head down, his arms swinging at his sides unnoticed. He breathed through his mouth, trying to compose himself.

Mulder and Scully were still arguing in Agent Harrison's hospital room; after Scully's remark about hugging Mulder to unfreeze him, Doggett couldn't bear to hear any more. Not when it was so obvious that he wasn't needed, wasn't *wanted*, by *her*.

He turned right and headed into the waiting room. He was about to continue on his current path into the lobby and out the doors when he heard an all-too-familiar voice call his name. "Agent Doggett!"

Doggett turned. There stood Scully, Mulder at her side. Doggett forced a brittle grin onto his face with not a little difficulty. "Yeah?"

Scully turned to Mulder. Something unspoken passed between them, and, shooting a furtive glance at Doggett, Mulder headed towards the restroom. Scully watched him go, then made her way to where Doggett stood. "Agent Doggett, I'd like to talk to you for a moment, if you've got the time."

"Okay. Shoot," Doggett said, nervousness creeping into his voice unbidden. He winced, praying she didn't recognize his uneasiness for what it was.

Scully sat down on one of the couches peppering the waiting room, not an easy task for a woman so close to her due date. Slowly Doggett sat down beside her, dreading what she had to say, dreading *her* . . . and what she could do to him.

Scully reached out and put a small hand on his shoulder, leaving it there for just an instant before it was back in her lap. Doggett froze at her touch. "Are you all right?" she asked quietly.

Doggett looked at the floor, unable to meet her gaze. "I'm fine, Agent Scully."

"You don't *look* fine. You could've been killed out there -- you nearly lost your eyesight, and according to the doctor who checked you out, you're lucky not to be in bed with a major concussion. At the very least you need to take it easy." She bit her lip, tears in those bright eyes. "I wish you could have someone to -- to watch your back. Because you were always there for me."

"Agent Scully. . . ."

"I feel like I deserted you." Scully sounded almost desperate, and for a moment he felt hope, hope that perhaps she *wasn't* as attached to Mulder as she appeared to be. She touched his arm lightly, then pulled back. "I want to be sure that you'll be all right."

Doggett was acutely aware of her presence next to him, her body mere inches away. He began to speak, his words flat, unemotional. He knew if he didn't rein himself in he'd say something he'd regret. "Thanks, uh, for your concern. I appreciate it, I do, but I'm tellin' you that I'm okay." He had to look at the floor again. He sighed, then said quietly, "Look. You wanna know somethin'? Don't feel guilty for leavin' me. I'll be okay. But you -- you gotta concentrate on yourself. An' that baby." He was amazed that he sounded so calm when what he felt like doing was begging her to stay with him. "I'm happy for you."

Scully raised her eyebrows. It was obvious she hadn't been expecting *that*. "Agent Doggett?"

"I, uh. . . . What I'm tryin' to say is that you . . . you an' Muldah. . . ." How the hell was he going to manage *this*? He took a deep breath and said in a strangled voice, "You two got each other again. An' with the baby an' all. . . ." He couldn't believe he was saying this to her, that he could appear so relaxed. Wretchedly he repeated, "I'm happy for you."

"Thank you. . . ." There was surprise in her voice. "But that's not all, is it." The accusation was uttered softly, silkily. Slyly.

Doggett turned to face her, his breath coming a little quicker. Shit. She was really not going to let this one go. Carefully, he said, "Whaddaya mean?" He realized he looked worried and concentrated on putting on a poker face. It wasn't working.

"I think you know." Scully's face was filled with compassion, making his breath catch in his throat. Compassion out of pity? Or compassion out of something else? He couldn't begin to guess.

Doggett swallowed. His hands were trembling; he noticed and hurriedly shoved them into his pockets. "What are you insinuatin', Agent Scully? 'Cause I don't know what you're talkin' --"

"It's all right."

Doggett was quiet for a moment, wondering what he was going to do. He looked up and into her face, searching for answers, for a way to get off the hook without admitting just why it was he was so torn up. . . . "I said I was fine."

"Don't lie to me. Please." She was close to crying. "I need to know."

He looked squarely at her, his eyes locking with hers. She wanted answers? Fine. She was gonna get them. "Look, just what is it that you want me to say? That maybe I'm gonna miss you more than I'm lettin' on? That maybe I'm feelin' somethin' more for you than I'm supposed to? Is *that* what you want me to say?" He blinked rapidly, his heart pounding. He felt like saying, "So there." Nervously he waited for her reaction.

She didn't say anything, simply looked at him with those blue-upon-blue eyes.

Even a few seconds of silence were unbearable. Hurriedly he worked to fill them. "So I'm not fine. So what. It ain't like I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown here. Even if -- even if I ain't okay now, I will be. An' that's all that matters. That I'm *gonna* be fine. Doesn't matter if I ain't at the moment." His mouth was dry. He closed his eyes for a moment and asked, "You satisfied yet?" His voice cracked on the last word.

Scully gazed at him, her eyes warm with understanding. She reached into his jacket pocket and took his hand for a moment, her touch electrifying. "John," she murmured. "Oh, John."

It was the only time she had ever used his first name.

She turned away, pulling her hand back and swallowing. She began to heft herself up off the couch.

Doggett leapt up and held out his hand. "Lemme help you up." It was not so much a request as it was a plea. Scully took his hand and he carefully, gently, pulled her to her feet.

"Thank you," Scully said softly, looking unsure of what to do next.

"I'll see you around, then?" he asked, trying hard to keep the hopeful tone out of his voice. Her hand was still held in his; it was a good fit. He burned the feel of her warm fingers into his consciousness. "I mean . . . this isn't a . . . a final goodbye?"

She smiled nervously, gently. "I -- I don't think it is. Even if I don't come back to the FBI . . . I'll be sure to keep in touch."

"That's all I ask." His eyes were watering. He concentrated on the warmth of her hand, the way it felt in his. He wondered how many times she had done this simple act of hand-holding with Mulder. Probably too many to count.

Her voice startled him. "How are you getting home?"

"Cab," he mumbled. Absently he ran his thumb over the soft, smooth skin of Scully's hand, tracing small circles around the knuckles, committing each contour to memory. He knew he might never have another chance to do so.

Scully nodded, then looked down at their clasped hands. She squeezed his hand and then pulled away, turning to leave.

Impulsively Doggett reached out and grabbed her hand again, bringing it in one swift movement to his lips. He kissed the back of it, closing his eyes. He let the hand fall and she stared at him, her own eyes shining with tears.

"Goodbye, Agent Doggett," she said softly. She looked away from him and began to shuffle towards the doors to the outside world, where Mulder was now waiting. Doggett realized Mulder had to have seen almost the entire exchange between them, but at the moment he didn't give a damn.

"Goodbye, Agent Scully," Doggett responded automatically. He rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, self-consciously.

"You take care of yourself," he called suddenly. "Okay?" Scully half-turned to face him and she gave him a forced, sad smile.

Doggett stood by the couch, hands jammed back in his pockets. Scully had begun walking out the doors, Mulder's arm around her shoulders. She gave Doggett one last look, and she was gone.

Doggett let himself fall back against the couch. "Christ," he muttered. "Christ."

He saw again in his head that smile she had just given him, the way she had held his hand, and he closed his eyes.

"Scully . . . Dana." It came out a hoarse, desperate whisper.

Nobody heard him. He guessed maybe it was better that way.

~FIN