I'm gonna buy this place and start a fire,
Stand here until I fill all your heart's desires.
Because I'm gonna buy this place and see it burn,
Do back the things it did to you in return.
The flight to Boston was eerily silent as Doggett and Scully were entrenched in their thoughts. What would they find once they finally touched down? Would they be able to uncover the reasons for Persicon's experiments? Or was their mission futile?
Who would they be once this was all over? Who could they be? Who was left in the wake of their demonic shadows? Mulder, Reyes...William, Luke?
Doggett realized that they had no one but each other now. It was a precarious equation.
"We're here." Scully's voice was barely above a whisper. It was the only words they spoke.
Persicon was located on a rundown road, far from prying eyes. The traffic lights were broken and there was not a soul in sight. It was the perfect cover, so unremarkable that Doggett worried that they had been given improper coordinates.
It was well past midnight as Doggett and Scully waited silently in their car, the dark night echoing the gloom in their hearts. They didn't need to speak the words; whether or not it was left unsaid, they both knew that this would be the end. This would be their beginning.
"The Lone Gunmen made us a key card. It should give us access into the Persicon building. Into the main entrance, anyway." Scully spoke in measured anguish. "They didn't want me to go, John, but they knew I wouldn't take no for an answer."
Doggett nodded but chose to ignore her pain in the same manner he was trying to ignore his own. "The coast seems clear, Scully. We should make our move."
Scully nodded and within seconds they made their way towards the door.
It was now or never.
Scully could feel her investigative instincts returning to her. It had been years since she had last scoped out a scene or even held a gun, but the biting familiarity was hard to deny. She was a well-trained agent. That would never change, no matter what she told herself.
They tread softly, on the lookout for unwanted company. Doggett stopped suddenly, firmly placing a finger to his lips.
Scully peered around the corner from behind Doggett's shoulder and spotted a tall man slide a key into a locked door and enter it. Without a moment's hesitation she ran in after him, squeezing through the closing door.
"Scully!" Doggett hissed at her, but the door had already slammed shut behind her, leaving him trapped on the other side. Alone.
"Agent Scully, I was expecting you." The man spoke without turning to face her.
"I'm not an Agent anymore." Scully spat back, her gun levelled at his head. "Who are you? How do you know my name?"
"Your reputation precedes you. At least, the reputation about your life from before. Before you lost everything." His answer was simple, yet the reality rippled through her veins.
She wouldn't let him get to her, whoever he was. She had to push onward. She needed to know the truth.
"What did you do to Mulder?"
The man finally turned, a small smirk playing on his lips. "Nothing that he hadn't already done to himself."
"I don't want your cryptic shit! Give me the truth. What the hell did you bastards do to Mulder?"
The man's thin smile swiftly disappeared. "The same thing that I'm going to do to you."
Doggett stared at the locked door in panic. Scully had gone in after that man and there was nothing he could do about it. What had Scully gotten herself into? He had no idea. He was lost.
A loud cry shattered his thoughts. Immediately Doggett's heart plummeted as it seemed certain that Scully was in trouble. Locked away behind an unmovable metal door. It was all his fault.
Then the voice cried out once more and Doggett realized that it was far too young to be Scully's. And it was coming from down the hall.
He bounded towards the door at the end of the corridor and pressed his ear up to it. The faint echo of suffering tugged forcefully at his conscience. Hurriedly, Doggett slammed into the door, knocking it down. Whoever was in there was in great pain. He rushed through the room towards the source of the sound. What he found sent every single one of his nerves on fire.
Rows and rows of medical instruments. Vials and test tubes filled with unidentifiable fluids. X-rays and MRIs and ultrasounds lined the walls. Pictures of human subjects, young and old, being examined in an endless battery of tests. They had definitely been given the correct coordinates.
Another howl erupted and Doggett spun around towards the noise. A young boy with dirty blonde hair lay trembling on a cold, sterile table. Bandages decorated his body, seemingly ignorant to his twisted moans. His hands were clenched in agony, a kind of suffering someone his age should never have to know. And his eyes…the same soft brown eyes…
In an instant, John Doggett experienced both life and death; he was reborn only to be torn apart.
"It's a pity, Agent Scully." The man said with a glint in his eye. "I thought you would put up more of a fight. Mulder always had such faith in you."
Scully's eyes opened slowly. Where was she? How had she gotten here? She tried to reach for her gun before she realized her hands were chained above her head.
She had been drugged.
"You and your husband were impressive in some respects, I suppose. Persicon has been under wraps for years without a single hitch, but Mulder's intrusion forced us to move our operation." The man continued, scanning the computer console in front of him intently.
"What are you going to do to me?" Scully's voice was even. She was ready for her fate.
"If you've found us, others will too. We can't take that chance." He typed in a command on the console and Scully's eyes widened as a piercing alarm began to sound.
"This place needs to go. And so do you."
The man stepped toward Scully, cupping her face with his hand.
"Goodbye Dana Scully."
Luke looked up at his father, a vague recognition settling upon his face. Doggett opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by flashing lights and an alarming siren.
Luke jumped into action, frightened out of his pain.
"They're going to burn the building down!" He announced in a panic.
"That alarm means the self-destruct mechanism has been activated. We don't have much time."
"How do you know that, Luke?"
The boy turned his eyes to the ground. "Sometimes I hear them talking when they think that I've been sedated."
Under normal circumstances, Doggett may have marvelled at the resourcefulness of his son. Instead, he only had one thought in his mind.
Scully could feel her head swimming. Her vision was blurred. She searched the area to find the man was missing. He had left her to die. Her thoughts raged as she realized she had missed her chance. She barely registered the ring of a grate falling a few feet away from her.
A young boy insistently tugged at her, releasing her from her shackles. Had he crawled through the grates to get to her? To save her from her inevitable demise? In her freedom she took an awkward step forward. He smiled encouragingly when she stumbled; her guardian angel.
"William?" She mumbled.
Luke watched her in concern. She was barely cognisant.
"We're going to get you out of here, Agent Scully."
Scully felt strong arms lifting her as she slowly regained consciousness.
"You alright, Scully?" His voice was dripping with tenderness.
She placed her feet on the ground and tested the strength of her body. She was relieved to find she could carry her own weight. The drugs were beginning to wear off.
Scully noticed the young boy staring at her studiously. The same boy who had freed her. She also noticed the bright glowing building behind them. Somehow, they were alive.
"He burnt the building down." It wasn't a question.
Doggett nodded. "But we all made it out in time."
Scully grimaced. To her it seemed to be a hollow victory.
"Is she ok, dad?" Luke asked and Scully looked up at Doggett in shock. His son? But wasn't John's son…?
"Scully, this is Luke." Doggett explained, seemingly as surprised as she was.
"I thought you said he – you mean they were…running tests on him?"
Doggett looked away and didn't reply. Luke fell silent. The scars on his face didn't lie. It was horrid.
"That man burned the Persicon building so that we couldn't track him anymore. He knew who I was, John, but now we have no evidence." They sat on a nearby bridge, the embers of the building still in sight.
"What are you going to do, Dana?"
Scully sighed. "I need to keep searching." Doggett caught her eye. "I need to do this. For every single man, woman and child Persicon has tested on. For everyone they plan to experiment on in the future. I need to do this for Mulder." She paused, glancing at Luke momentarily. "And I need to do this for William, so that he never experiences what your son had to."
It was a valid argument. It was logical. Scully's specialty. But Doggett could not fight the nagging fear that caused his hands to tremble.
Doggett opened his mouth, and Scully knew that he was going to offer to come with her. But she cut him off.
"You have a family, Doggett. You need to be there for them."
The way Mulder never was.
So meet me by the bridge, meet me by the lane,
When am I gonna see that pretty face again?
Meet me on the road, meet me where I said,
Blame it all upon a rush of blood to the head.
Her fingers grazed his chest. Her lips pressed against his cheek. He placed his hand on her hip. It was only in departure that she ever graced him with a peaceful smile. A confident smile. A real smile. A smile he would never forget.
He knew he shouldn't let her leave. They had worked so hard and now all he could do was let her go. He was sending her into dangers he couldn't even fathom. But with his hand resting on his son's shoulder he knew that he finally had something to live for.
And maybe she finally did too.
Doggett could feel the harsh wind blow ash at him from the scorched site. Day would break in a few hours. Until then, he still had the sweet dusk.
John Doggett watched Dana Scully walk into the night until the darkness obscured her fully from his sight. Never to return. Even then he did not move.
He waited all night.