TITLE: Lingering
AUTHOR: coolbyrne
CLASSIFICATION: PG, maybe 3 or 4 objectionable words.
CATEGORY: without question, DSR. Scully POV.
DISCLAIMER: Yeah, I'm really CC, spending my spare time writing…
fan fiction. Sheesh.
SPOILERS: None.
DISTRIBUTION: SHODDS members can take it. Everyone else, I've
sort of let up on my no-distribution stance I had on "Linger". Email me
if you really want it.
SUMMARY: Scully discovers Doggett's feelings towards her. Now
it's up to her to decide what's next.
FEEDBACK: Constructive criticism/ego-stroking gratefully accepted at
fugitive@ihateclowns.com. Flames gleefully mocked in other forums.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you haven't read "Linger," this isn't gonna make
any sense to you. Although this is a pretty decent stand-alone story,
there ARE key elements revealed in "Linger" which are the driving
force of this fic. "Linger" can be found at:
www.geocities.com/coolbyrnefic/Linger.html
This was in response to a SHODDS challenge regarding Scully finding
out Doggett's feelings towards her, but in such a way that he doesn't
know she knows. Make sense yet? No beta readers for this piece; my
apologies.



And at last I know my love for you is here;
I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight,
It is large, so large, I could not see it before,
Because of the little lights and flickers and interruptions,
Troubles, anxieties, and pains.

-"Bei Hennef" by D.H. Lawrence



** *** **


She saw him, his 8-year old frame, scrawny and wiry, racing down the
weathered planks of the ancient dock, his friends trailing behind him.
She sat on the makeshift bench (a log, really) that faced the water. The
sun came down in blinding brilliance, making little ripples on the water
look like gleaming jewels. His battle cry as his feet left the security of
the solid and launched him into the air made her laugh. She froze this
image in her heart, this burst of innocence, and she smiled.

"Now that's what I came to see," murmured a familiar voice.

She made her way from the hazy fog of unconsciousness and opened her
eyes. The owner of the voice came into view. John Jay Doggett.

"Hey," he said, "not only is she awake, but she's smilin'."

"Hey," she replied, her voice rough and dry.

"Hey," he repeated, returning her smile. Pulling his chair up closer to
her bedside, he leaned forward and offered, "Here, have some of this."
He held a glass and straw to her mouth until she pulled back, quenched.
Placing the glass on the nearby table he asked, "So, besides bein' thirsty,
how you doin'?"

Scully closed her eyes for a moment, taking a quick mental inventory of
herself. "Not too bad, I guess," she diagnosed. "A bit groggy. A bit
sore."

His brows furrowed and he made a motion to get up. "You want me to
go get the nurse? Get you somethin' for the pain?"

"No," she said, reaching out for his arm. "Don't go. Stay here."

He sat down at her request. "Ok. I'm not goin' anywhere."

She smiled again, warmed by his eyes. "So now that I've told you how I
am, why don't you tell me how I'm doing?"

He gave her a quick glance from head to toe then back to her eyes.
"Well, the good news is, the first bullet went right through. The bad
news is, the doctors had to dig around for the second one. Took 'em 8
hours to get it out. All that pokin' around means you're gonna have to
go through a month or so of physio, and you probably won't be able to
use your arm for a coupla weeks." He saw her make a face and added,
"Good thing you're a righty."

She closed her eyes again, letting it sink in. When she opened them
once more, she looked right into his blues, which hadn't left her face.
"And how are you doing?"

Doggett made a quick puzzled face. "I'm doin' fine. But I wasn't the
one who got shot. Why do you ask?"

Scully gave a little shrug. "I don't know. Maybe I phrased that the
wrong way. If I was in surgery for 8 hours, maybe I should be asking
how the nurses are."

He leaned back and laughed. "I see. Are you implyin' I'm not a
hospital person?"

The twinkle in his eye made her return his jest. "Now why would you
say that?"

"Ok, ok," he admitted, "so maybe I'm not my regular charmin' self
when I'm in these places." He caught her look. "And maybe I gave a
nurse or two a hard time."

"Mmmm," she returned, imagining what the John Doggett version of
"hard time" implied. A lot of stares, sprinkled with impatient outbursts,
and a pinch or two of stubbornness thrown in for good measure. She
smiled at the image.

"There you go, smilin' again."

Her hand lazily brushed along his arm. "I had a dream about you, you
know."

His eyes half closed and he drawled in a low, mock-seductive tone,
"Well, this visit just keeps gettin' better and better."

She slapped his arm, "Not THAT kind of dream."

"Oh," he said, feigning sadness. When he saw her roll her eyes, he
smiled and asked, "Ok, then. What kinda dream did I star in?"

"You were about 8 years old," she started. "You had these cut-off shorts
down to your knees. I don't know how you kept them up; you were so
skinny."

" ''Crow'," he supplied.

" ''Crow'?"

"It's what the guys used to call me when I was a kid. 'Scarecrow.'"

"Seemed to fit. Yeah," she agreed.

He gave a defeated, good-natured laugh and shook his head.

Before Scully could continue her story, the door to her room opened,
and a dark, short woman in her mid-fifties came in.

"Hello, John," she greeted him.

"Hello, Anita," he replied.

She turned to Scully and said, "Hello, Dana. I'm Anita. I've been your
nurse for most of your stay." She picked up the clipboard on the wall
and checked Scully's chart. "Looks good. Nice to see surgery went
well. For both of you." She winked at Doggett, who meekly looked
away.

Scully was momentarily confused until she put two and two together.
Turning her head to Doggett, she said victoriously, "I KNEW you were
a pain in the ass."

Anita sighed, "Dana, I was this close to giving HIM a sedative."

"Well, I can see I'm outnumbered here," Doggett noted, and made a
motion to leave.

"Now John. Stay right here. I'm just changing Dana's IV, then I'll
leave you two be," the nurse spoke as she went through her required
motions. "There," she said after only a few moments.

"When can I get out of here?" Scully asked, once Anita was finished.

"Well," she leaned back and thought, "you've only been out of surgery
for 17 hours. I'd say you'll be in here for at least another 48 hours.
Probably closer to 72."

Scully sat up straighter in protest. "I'm feeling fine, really. I'm sure I'll
be good enough to go by tomorrow."

Anita rolled her eyes. "You're a doctor, aren't you, Dana?"

"Yes, I am. Why do you ask?"

"Uh-huh," was all the nurse replied. "And what are you smiling at over
there, Mr. John?" she asked a smirking Doggett. "The way you
conducted yourself during this lady's surgery makes me think you
missed your calling to be in the medical profession yourself."

"Yes, ma'am," was the best Doggett could do.

"Ok, then," she said. "I'm going to give you about another 10 minutes
here. This lady needs to get some sleep. Now that you know she's
going to be fine, I want you to go home, make yourself a nice bite to eat,
have a nice long hot shower and change into some clean clothes. Then I
want you to get some sleep yourself. She's going to need your help over
the next couple of weeks, so you need your strength, you understand?"

He nodded.

"Good. But don't shave. That little bit of stubble is very cute." And
with a wink, she left the room.

Before the red could fade from the tips of his ears, Scully repeated,
"'Don't shave. That little bit of stubble is very cute.'" She laughed and
continued, "I turn my back for a second and you're charming every
woman within a city block radius."

He laughed, mostly to cover his embarrassment. "I don't think she
found me too charmin' 17 hours ago." Moving back to his station by her
bed, he asked, "I'll be back tomorrow afternoon. Is there anythin' you
need me to bring?"

"No," she answered truthfully, "just bring you."

Doggett tilted his head slightly, somewhat puzzled at her apparent
candidness. "Good to see those drugs are doin' their bit." He reached
down and gave her shoulder a quick squeeze. "I'll see ya tomorrow,
ok?"

She closed her eyes and murmured, "Ok."

** *** **

Sure enough, as promised, he arrived at her door the following day.
Knocking softly, he poked his head in to see if she was awake.

"Come in," she said.

"Hey, I was just makin' sure you weren't sleepin'. Didn't want to face
the wrath of Anita again," he explained, before making his way to her
bedside. "How you doin'?"

"A little sorer today than I was yesterday, but I got them to reduce my
medication. I don't like my head being so fuzzy." He nodded in
understanding and she went on, "And how are you doing? How's the
case, by the way?"

"Do you remember anythin' of what happened that night after you were
shot?"

'Besides the bit about finding out you love me?' she asked silently, but
she didn't think that would go over without a question or two, so she
said aloud, "No, not really."

"Well, let's just say whatever problems you're gonna have with that
shoulder of yours, Williamson's gonna have with his knees."

Scully raised her eyebrows. "'Knees'? Plural?"

Doggett nodded. "Seems my desire to stop him from gettin' away was
stronger than his desire to get the hell outta there after he shot you. Too
bad for him, the son-of-a-bitch wouldn't go down after I shot him in the
knee. He actually got up and tried hobblin' away." He could only shake
his head in amazement, which is exactly what Scully did. "I finished up
the paperwork today. Actually, that's why I'm a little later than I would
have liked to have been; with that case locked up, I had the chance to
clear the rest of the paperwork off my desk so I could take tomorrow
off."

"You're taking tomorrow off?"

"Well, I have it on good authority that you'll be out tomorrow, right
before you're subjected to another dinner time meal in this place."

"Thank God," she groaned, then added, "That stubble must have done
the trick."

He gave her one of his half grins, the one that always showed up
whenever he was "caught". He reached up and rubbed a hand across his
jaw. "I hope so, 'cause I don't think I can take this for very much
longer. Anyway, I wanted to make sure you had my undivided attention
tomorrow, just in case you needed help with anythin'."

She smiled at his gesture and said, "Thank you."

"That's what partners are for, isn't it?" he asked honestly. "Oh! That
reminds me. Speakin' of how good I am to you," he grinned, and held
up a plastic bag that had been hanging by his side.

"You brought me something?" Scully asked, surprised.

"Uh-huh," he answered, then leaned forward. Whispering
conspiratorally, he said, "But for God's sake, don't tell Anita." And
with that, he pulled out a container from the bag.

"Haagen Daazs!" she practically squealed. Seeing his look of worry, she
lowered her voice and whispered excitedly, "Chunky Monkey, too!"
Looking at him square in the eye and bringing the container up to her
heart, she solemnly stated, "I love you."

His eyes went through an odd series of transformations before returning
to their usual hue. Masking this moment of vulnerability, he fell back on
humour. "No you don't," he corrected. "Not until I give you this,
anyway." Reaching into the pocket of his leather jacket, he magically
revealed… a spoon.

"Thank you," she said, "it saves me the embarrassment of having you
see me eat right out of the container."

"Aren't you gonna do that anyway?" Doggett asked.

"Well, yes," she admitted, "but I was more than willing to eat out of the
container without the spoon."

"It's like crack, isn't it?"

"Absolutely," Scully concurred.

"Well, I'll leave you two alone," he joked, and before she could protest,
he added, "No, really. There's some stuff I gotta finish before I pick you
up tomorrow. Speaking of which, is there anythin' you need me to
bring? A change of clothes? Hairbrush, that sorta thing?" He gave her
a once over with his eyes. "Any other, uh, items of clothing?" When he
saw the look of shock on her face, he supplied, "Hey, I WAS married,
you know. I've seen women's things."

"Not my woman's things," she blurted out.

Laughing, Doggett held out his two hands in surrender and offered, "Ok,
why don't I pick your mom up tomorrow morning and she can put
together whatever she thinks you'll need?" Scully nodded and Doggett
said, "Ok, that's it, then. I'll see ya tomorrow, around four."

Just as he got to the door, she stopped him. "John?" He turned at her
voice. "Thanks."

He held up his hand as if to say, "Forget it," and was gone.

** *** **

Four o'clock arrived and as if on cue came a knock at her door.

"Come in," she called out. Smiling at the arrival of Doggett, she
smirked, "You can take the man out of the Marines, but you can't take
the Marines out of the man."

"Very funny," he retorted. "I'm a man of my word."

"AND punctual," she jested.

He held up a bag and said, "Here you go. Rest assured I didn't go
through your 'woman's things'. Your mom put it all together. Then I
took her shoppin' so you'd have food in the house that didn't require a
can opener or live in a jar. I think she opened a lotta stuff and poured
them into containers and put them in your fridge."

Shocked, Scully barely got out, "You went grocery shopping with my
mother?"

Puzzled, Doggett replied, "Yeah, why? She's a great lady. She told me
she thought chivalry was dead until I came along." He shook his head at
the recollection of their conversation.

"Boy, I bet she just adores you."

He shrugged and smiled, "What can ya do? I'm from the South."

Now it was Scully's turn to shake her head. "I think it's more than that."

Doggett shifted from one foot to the other before steering the
conversation away. Jerking his thumb in the direction of the door, he
said, "I'll go chat up Anita for a while, give you some time to get ready.
Come on out when you're done and we'll get outta this place."

** *** **

Sure enough, there was Doggett commanding an audience, a female one
at that, Scully noted, at the nurses' station when she came out of her
room. But like radar, he turned in her direction the moment she stepped
out of her room and greeted her with a smile. He met her halfway and
reached out for the bag.

"Dana," Anita greeted, "you look like you can't wait to get out of here."

"Well, no offense, Anita," Scully began.

"Oh, no, I understand," the nurse said. "I just need you to sign a few
forms and you'll be on your way with this charmer." Seeing his ears
tinge red, she chuckled, "Who'd guess such a man would be so shy?"

"Anita," Doggett said apologetically, "I hope you don't take this the
wrong way, but I hope I never see you again." To make sure she took it
the right way, he leaned down and gave her a hug.

Startled at this display of affection, she gave a delighted little squeal and
returned the gesture. Close to his ear, she whispered, "You take good
care of her. And you take good care of yourself, you understand?"

"Yes, ma'am," he replied. Pulling away from the nurse, he turned to
Scully and asked, "Ready?"

Warmed by the scene between Anita and John, she smiled and said,
"Ready."

"Now John," Anita warned, "there will be no racing in this wheelchair,
right?"

** *** **

They left the wheelchair, bereft of any racing experience, with an
attendant at the entrance, and walked gingerly towards Doggett's truck.
When they arrived at the passenger side, he slipped a key into the lock
and opened the door. Scully looked into the truck and paused, causing
him to look inside as well. It wasn't until he saw her look down at her
feet, then up to the cab of the truck that he realized the quandary.

"Shit," he said.

"You should have brought a step stool," she joked.

"I never even thought," he apologized.

"It's ok," she replied, "but, uh, getting into your truck could be
interesting."

He tossed her bag towards the driver's seat and stepped closer to her. "I
don't mean to get all caveman on you, but, do you mind?"

Scully saw him bend slightly as if to lift her into the cab. "I guess I
don't have much choice, do I?" and put her good arm around his neck
for support.

He slipped his left arm around her waist, sliding his hand under her
sling, careful not to cause any pain. With his other arm, he hooked her
knees and lifted her feet off the ground.

"Oh!" she laughed, trying to imagine the picture.

"I shoulda brought the motorcycle," he quipped, checking her eyes to
make sure she was ok.

They were so close she could see the little fleck of brown in his left eye,
and the reddish hue of the stubble that had enamoured Anita so much.
Scully smiled as he placed her gently on the seat and worked on fitting
the seatbelt around her. He pulled back and she reluctantly removed her
arm from around his shoulders.

Stepping back, he looked at her and asked, "How's that?"

"Good," she answered. "Good."

"Good," he echoed and closed her door before making his way to the
driver's side. Pulling his long frame into the cab, he clicked his own
seatbelt home and put the keys in the ignition. Once the comforting
rumble of the engine began, he turned to her. "Is there anywhere you
wanna stop before I take you home?"

She leaned back on the headrest. "No," she answered, "I just want to go
home."

"Home it is," he granted, and pulled out of the parking lot.

** *** **

She must have fallen asleep because she felt a gentle nudge and a soft
voice saying, "Dana? Dana, we're here." She forced her eyes open and
looked around, temporarily disoriented. Turning her head, she saw
Doggett leaning close, his nudging hand attempting to find a good place
to land, and, not being able to settle on her injured arm, ending up on her
leg.

Scully enjoyed the moment before finally saying, "I'm sorry. I didn't
mean to fall asleep on you."

"It's ok," he dismissed. "I hated to wake you."

"Yeah," she said, looking around the cab. "This is a really comfortable
truck."

"Any time you can't fall asleep, just give me a call. I'll swing by and
take you for a drive."

She mirrored his grin and watched as he got out of the truck and came
around to her side. Opening her door, he figured, "I don't think we're
gonna have as much of a problem gettin' you out as we did gettin' you
in."

And with that, he held out his arm as a support for Scully to hold on to
as she slid out of the truck. She waited for him to reach in and retrieve
her bag before they made their way to her apartment. Finally outside her
door, she put the appropriate key in the lock and stepped inside. Doggett
reached in and turned on the lights, and put her bag by the door. Scully
let her shoulders sag and tilted her head back.

"God, it's good to be home." She turned to him and asked, "You'll stay
for a bit, won't you?"

"Yeah, of course I'll stay."

"Good," she said, pleased.

He slid off his leather jacket and put it on one of the pegs nearby, while
simultaneously kicking off his running shoes. He looked up and noticed
she was having a bit of difficulty taking off her own jacket. Walking up
to her, he lightly touched her right shoulder with his left hand and said,
"Turn around." She did as he commanded and was rewarded with his
fingers, strong yet gentle, sliding underneath the collar of her jacket and
carefully gliding one half away from her sling. He rested his left hand in
the crook of her neck while his right hand, holding the jacket by its
collar, reached out away from their bodies, allowing Scully to pull her
right arm out of the sleeve. In that microcosm of a moment, she felt his
hand on her bare neck, his breath in her hair, and she was sure she could
literally feel the warmth eminating from his body. It was if he could feel
it, too, because he quickly stepped back.

"I'll put this away," he said, breaking their contact.

Unsure as to what to do next, Scully offered, "Why don't you come into
the kitchen. I'll make you some coffee. Are you hungry?"

He followed her lead into the bright room, but corrected her. "I'm
supposta ask YOU if you wanted somethin' to eat or somethin' to
drink." She was about to say something in protest when he stopped her.
"Now, before you say anythin', think of it this way. I'm not gonna be
here all the time, so you might as well take advantage of the situation
while you got me. Besides," he smiled, "I'm not that bad of a cook."

Scully could do nothing but laugh. "Ok," she agreed.

"Good," he said. "Have a seat and watch me make a complete ass of
myself in your kitchen."

Ten minutes later, she had a tea by her elbow and the smell of spaghetti
sauce in the air. Doggett was at the counter, chopping mushrooms on a
cutting board.

"You're very good," she remarked. "Where did you learn to cook?"

Doggett turned to his left to look at her while he spoke. "I've been
divorced for almost five years. Pizza loses its appeal after a coupla
months." He tossed the mushrooms into the sauce, which was
simmering quietly on the stove. He held up a small item. "Garlic?"

"Mmm. Yes, please," she answered.

"Besides," he went on, "spaghetti has got to be a bachelor's staple.
Pretty hard to fuck it up."

She laughed and took a sip of her tea. Wondering how far she should
go, she decided to take a big step. "Why did you get divorced?"

She heard the knife stop cutting for a second, before continuing its job.
His shoulders sagged slightly before he answered. "I don't know, to tell
you the truth." He turned to see her face, and saw her eyebrows slightly
raised. "Sounds crazy, I know, but it's not like it was one thing all by
itself. It was a lot of little things that just snowballed over the years.
Then,.." he paused, "our son died, and I guess that was the straw that
broke it all. You know, she said somethin' to me durin' those last few
days before the divorce. She said, 'If I don't have you, they can't take
you away from me.' At the time, I didn't understand what she meant, but
lookin' back on it now, I see where she was comin' from."

The room was so quiet that Scully could hear the light popping sound of
the sauce simmering. He looked down at the cutting board and after a
minute gave a small laugh, "Listen to me. Mr. Wet Blanket."

The quiet scraping of her chair sliding back as she stood up filled the
room. Coming up behind him, she put her good arm around his waist
and pulled herself as close as she could.

"If I had use of both my arms, I'd give you a good and proper hug."

He twisted his head around to try and get a look at her. "It's the thought
that counts." And with a smile in his voice, he added, "Thanks."

She simply nodded and returned to her chair. Using her tea as a cover,
she lifted the mug to her lips and thought of how good that had felt; to
hold him in her arms, however so briefly, however so awkwardly.
'Damn arm,' she thought. 'Of course,' she told herself, 'had it not been
for this stupid arm, he might not be here. I might not know what I
know.'

They ate supper in easy silence, broken only by Scully's murmurs of
approval over his cooking skills and some small talk about work. She
had helped him with the dishes when they were finished, above his
protests. "Unless you're going to come and do my dishes every day
until this arm is good again, I might as well learn to do it now," she had
explained.

It wasn't until that otherwise mundane activity -doing dishes- that Scully
realized how comfortable she was with him. She had spent enough time
with him on the job to know what Work Doggett was like, but it wasn't
until now that she realized this was how he was, all the time.
Dependable. Attentive. Comfortable in his own skin in a way that she
envied. She wondered how they looked, standing side-by-side at her
sink; he, an exercise in ease; she, a bundle of uncertainties and
insecurities.

He caught her short laugh. "What?"

She just shook her head. "I don't think I've ever had a partner do the
dishes with me."

He smiled and said, "First time for everythin' I guess."

Now finished, they returned to the table. "More tea?" he asked.

"No, I'm good, thanks."

"Ok. How you feelin'?"

She closed her eyes for a moment and answered, "I'm good. I'm really
good." She opened her eyes to see him beam a smile at her in response.

They were sitting close enough at the corner of her table that their knees
touched. His left hand was resting on the table by his mug and she
wanted so much to reach out and cover his hand with her own.

'Why don't I?' she silently wondered.

Knowledge is a powerful thing. To know something unknown to
anyone else can help you see situations in ways others can't; can make
decision making so much clearer.

The only thing holding her back was the tight cord of uncertainties and
insecurities she had always felt tied around her. But in this case, there
were no uncertainties, were there? There was no need to be uncertain,
no need to be insecure. He loved her, that much she knew. Irrevocably.
Without question. And with that revealed to her, she had discovered that
she loved him, too.

She loved him.

She. Loved. Him.

Suddenly, like an epiphany it was all clear. 'Oh, my God,' she thought,
as a slow smile started to spread across her face.

Doggett took note of this and raised an eyebrow. "Nice to see the drugs
are kickin' in."

She wanted to contradict him, to let him in on her secret, but the sheer
surprise and joy of it stifled her voice.

"I'll take that as my cue to leave," he said, though he clearly didn't want
to go. He took a few sweeps around the room with his eyes in an effort
to stall his departure, part of him wanting her to stop him. But when no
opposing reply came, he looked at her and continued, "If you need
anything, all ya gotta do is.."

Her lips met his, cutting off the rest of his sentence. Pulling back to give
her mouth just enough room to speak, she said, "Stay."

Now it was his turn to be stunned into silence. His body was rigid, as if
ready to run. She brought up her hand to his face, feeling the rough
stubble underneath her caress. Her eyes met his and with a conviction
that surprised even her, she repeated, "Stay. Please. I want you to."
Lighting her tone a bit, she added, "And just so there's no doubt, the
drugs haven't kicked in at all."

With that, he relaxed and released a lungful of air he hadn't even
realized he had been holding. "You know, most people have forgotten
the lost art of kissin' someone before givin' out orders."

She looked into his eyes and answered with a smirk, "Is that what it
was? An order?"

"Mmmm, maybe just a firm request," he amended. "And I hafta say,
somethin' I wasn't expectin'."

Her hand slid slowly from his cheek as the old insecurities came up
again. Doggett saw this and caught her hand, returning it to his face. "I
said I wasn't expectin' it, I didn't say I couldn't honour it."

She saw the fire in his eyes and was warmed by it. "So you'll stay? I
mean, I can't… I can't, you know, with my arm like this, I can't do
anything.." she trailed off, now slightly embarrassed. "And you're not
making things any better by laughing at me."

He tried to cover his laugh, to no avail. "Ok, ok," he choked out, "I
can't help it." Then, just as soon as it started, it stopped, and his eyes
pinned her with their seriousness. "I don't care if you can't do anythin'.
That's not what I'm here for. I'm here for the long haul, lady. You've
been warned." As if to seal his claim, he leaned forward and kissed her,
strong and sure.

'Who would have thought that getting shot would be the best thing to
ever happen to me?' she wondered in amazement. Then, as his mouth
found its way to her throat and her hand around his shoulders, she
corrected herself. 'The second best thing.'


-end.