Title: Recalled to Life
Author: Katherine Scully
Rating: K+ for some mild swearing.
Series: The X-Files
Disclaimer: The X-Files and all related characters are property of Chris Carter and 1013 productions. No copyright infringement is intended.
Note: This is my response to a challenge by SHODDS, Have Doggett recalled to active duty for a mission.

Recalled to Life
By Katherine Scully.

He stared at the letter in his hand in disbelief. This is not happening, he muttered softly, reading the unfathomable words over again. This is not happening. He read the letter again, the damned USMC logo displayed cheerfully across the top, informing him that he had been recalled to active duty. This is not happening.

He thought of the phrase recalled to life, the title of one of the chapters of Charles Dickens' book, "A Tale of Two Cities," in which a man in prison for years was finally released. His release had been given the term, recalled to life. Doggett snorted and thought how little the phrase applied here. This was not being recalled to life. It was being recalled to hell. Pulled, wrenched against his will by the draft board, away from his life. Recalled to life. Ha!

The door opened softly, and Dana Scully, not only his partner at the FBI but also the love of John's life, entered and took a seat behind Mulder's desk. Mulder's desk. Not his. Mulder's desk, Mulder's office, Mulder's partner, Mulder's project. Where was Mulder? Gone. Vanished, leaving Scully to carry the load. Pregnant, of all things.

Dana didn't miss anything. She took one look at John's face and the expression he wore told her instantly something was wrong.

"John?" she asked softly. "Are you all right?"

"No," he managed. She frowned at him, and he reluctantly pushed the letter across the desk to her. "Read this." His voice was hoarse. He could barely speak, damn it. She read silently for a moment, then stared at the words blankly, trying to comprehend them. Then he saw the tears fill her eyes.

"Dana..."

"I thought you were different," she said softly. "I thought you, of all people, would never run off on me."

"Dana, I don't have a choice. It's only one mission. I'll be back as soon as I can."

"One mission. Yeah. Could be the one that gets you killed."

"Dana, I'm sorry..."

"I can't believe this!" she threw up her hands in defeat. "First Mulder disappears on me, now this. I've finally found someone to fill a void in my life that Mulder never could, and he gets called to active duty and sent away from me. To Afghanistan, of all places."

"Dana..."

"Go, John. Just go. I'll be fine without you. The X-Files will still be here. They'll always be here." She stood and ran out of the office, leaving Doggett staring after her.

"God damn it!" he yelled, pounding the desk with his fist. He supposed he understood her reaction; hurt, angry and perhaps afraid too.

The sobs racked her body, shaking her to the core, but Scully couldn't stop them. She hadn't even hurt this much after Mulder disappeared. Not even after Skinner was shot. This was different. This was so entirely different. This was John Doggett leaving her.

He said he'd be back, but what if he got himself killed? What would she do then? From the moment they'd become lovers, John had been her only lifeline to sanity, her only drive to keep plugging away at the X-Files with Mulder gone. She'd been ready to give up when they'd discovered their feelings for each other. He'd saved her. He'd filled a hole in her life that she was beginning to wonder if it had ever been filled before she met him. Now he was leaving. Going off to fight the terrorist bastards who wouldn't think twice about killing him.

She wished she were going with him. She wished he wasn't going. She wished... for anything but this. She'd always wondered how soldiers' wives did it, living day after day waiting for their husbands and loved ones to come home, dreading a knock on the door or a phone call or a yellow sheet of paper in the mail with that damned military logo across the top.

Now she was about to find out, and it hurt like hell.

His duffel was packed. On the table, the engagement ring he'd bought for Scully was sitting there, gathering dust. He hadn't seen her in four days. She wasn't answering her phone, so he'd chanced it and left the details for his departure on her answering machine. He wasn't even sure if she'd come. Maybe she hated him, for abandoning her like Mulder had. Maybe... maybe she was hurt and scared and confused and didn't know if she wanted to keep their relationship going. Maybe... maybe she wanted nothing more to do with him. The thoughts still swirling around in his head, John shouldered his duffel and left his apartment, leaving the ring on the table to gather dust. He got in his truck and drove to the base.

He was just about to board the truck that would take them to the plane that would land on the aircraft carrier when he glanced over his shoulder when he saw a familiar vehicle pull up to the gate, and a familiar, red-headed slender figure emerge. Smiling, John met her at the gate.

"Thought you might not be comin," he said. She glanced away briefly, then met his eyes.

"I couldn't let you walk out of my life that easy, John Doggett," she said. Doggett smiled.

"I love you, Dana." It was the first time he'd actually said the words. She studied his face, the intensity and love and honesty in his blue eyes, and smiled.

"I love you too, John," she said. He pulled her close then and kissed her long and hard. It was a long moment before he broke away.

"I'm coming back, Dana. I promise."

"I'll hold you to that, mister." She was trying to smile and trying not to cry at the same time, and it didn't really work. He leaned over and whispered in her ear.

"Marry me." She stepped back a little to stare into his face, trying to see if he was serious. Realizing he was, she nodded.

"I will, John."

"I have a ring. It's at home... I didn't think you were coming." He fished around in his pocket but the only thing he could come up with was his key ring. He pulled the keys off and slipped the ring around her finger.

"It's a little... big," he said, but she was smiling. He bent and kissed her, the kiss this time filled with the promise of more to come. ⌠I will come back, Dana. I have someone to come back to now," he said. She nodded.

"I'll be waiting," she said. There were tears in her eyes but she refused to cry. He hugged her close for a long moment, then glanced up as one of the MPs yelled at him to hurry up.

"I have to go, love."

"I know. Come back to me, John."

"I will." He kissed her lips once more, then turned and jogged off to the truck. "I love you, Dana," he called back over his shoulder. She waved, the lump in her throat threatening to choke her, and watched as he got in the back of the truck with a bunch of other fatigues-clad soldiers. She knew he would come back to her.

Finis