“Agent Mulder!” Doggett caught Mulder’s arm before the other man could enter the elevator.
“I told you, drop the ‘Agent’, that’s not who I am anymore.” Mulder was tense, suppressing something. Doggett could tell that, even if he couldn’t see what it was that was being suppressed.
“We’re not done in there.” Doggett stated. Insistent. His clear blue eyes bore into Mulder’s darker, more severe ones as he continued to hold onto Mulder’s arm.
“I am.” Mulder said definitively.
“Why’d you storm out like that. I saw the look in your eyes, Mulder. You know something.” Doggett continued to dig. “If there’s something that could help keep Agent Scully safe, and you’re not telling-”
“Agent Doggett, right now you’re the only thing stopping Scully from being safe.” Mulder tore his arm free. “I have to go. They’re going to come for her, and the baby.”
“Me?” Doggett took a step back, feeling attacked. All he’d ever tried to do was help, to humour Mulder’s paranoia, and yet Mulder continued to treat him like he was an idiot.
“I need to go to her.” Mulder said simply.
“You heard what she said in there, Agent Doggett.” Mulder began, grave and heavy, like the words themselves weighed on his tounge, and his soul. Perhaps, it was simply that Mulder was trying to mask how upset he really was. He continued in a lower, quieter voice, “This kid is going to be something they’ve never seen before. They’ll kill her to get at this baby if they have to, and I won’t let that happen.” The guilt he seemed to feel was palpable in his speech.
“We’re all here to help Scully, just like you. Let us help.” Doggett regained the step he’d taken back. Trying to offer support, without getting in Mulder’s personal space.
“I have to go. If she gets hurt, or killed, it’s my fault.” Mulder pulled away and pushed the down button on the elevator.
“Mulder, how is this your fault?” Doggett asked, brow furrowed in confusion.
“If…” Mulder faltered, as he stepped into the open elevator and turned to face Doggett, “If Scully’s baby wasn’t created in a lab, then I have a much bigger part to play in all of this than I thought.”
The metal doors slide shut, separating the two men, leaving Doggett on the other side, still processing what had passed between them.
When Agent Doggett re-entered the interview room Mulder’s almost confession was at the forefront of his mind, he had a serious look on his face, and just one question.
Lizzy Gill looked up at him expectantly, as if she knew what he was going to ask.
“How do you think Agent Scully’s baby came to be, Lizzy” He sat down, casually, as if they were old friends, and leant back in the chair. “You say this child couldn’t have been created in a Lab... that it wasn’t.”
“I don’t pretend to know all the facts,” Lizzy began, “but I am a geneticist, and I’ve seen the reports.”
“The reports made by Dr Parenti?” Skinner wanted a confirmation.
“What are you saying?” Doggett didn’t have time for this. If Scully was in danger, he wanted to know, and sooner rather than later.
“I’m saying that even the Doctor didn’t seem to truly know what this child was. This baby is special, because it’s a miracle, unexplainable in scientific terms; carried by a mother that could not hope to conceive without the intervention of science, but that failed to be receptive to IVF treatment. This baby… cannot exist.”
“But it does exist.” Skinner said.
“Yes, but I couldn’t tell you how. It’s conception was not orchestrated by my employer.”
Doggett wavered outside the door, feeling a little uncomfortable. He had a good reason to be here, yet still he felt like he was intruding. Finally, after a few seconds of awkwardly rocking in front of Scully’s front door, he knocked.
“It’s open,” a familiar voice announced.
Doggett tentatively pushed on the door with one hand, holding a very important envelope in the other. He was met by… well, mess. As much mess as you might expect in an apartment with a newborn, and then some extra. He remembered what that had been like…
“Agent Doggett,” That same voice, cheerful, called from the attached kitchen area.
Doggett turned to see that the kitchen was just as much of a mess, and in the midst of it all stood the reason why. Mulder was holding the baby in one arm, and putting groceries in the cupboards with the other. He abandoned this pursuit to greet Doggett.
“Where’s Scully?” Doggett felt he should ask, though he was pretty sure she must be getting a little space, having a shower, or a nap, while she could.
“Oh, sleeping. I’ve been keeping the kid entertained while she took a break. Could you hold him while I put this stuff away, he cries when he’s put down and I don’t want to wake Scully up.” Mulder didn’t really wait for an answer before beginning to place the newborn in Doggett’s arms.
“Oh, uh… sure.” Doggett said. The baby whimpered and cried a little at being seperated from Mulder but as Doggett began to bouce lightly, the child quieted, beginning to nod off again. “What’s his name?” He asked, as the little boy’s strikingly familiar blue eyes fluttered closed. He was perfectly tiny, with a crumpled face, and head you could fit in one hand.
“William. It’s a family name.” Mulder smiled, folding and stacking a bunch of clean, new dishtowels. “Not exactly unique but... I like that he’ll never have to explain it, or spell it. Not like ‘Fox’.”
Doggett wondered, when Mulder said ‘family name’, did he mean his or Scully’s family. Was this an admission? His involvement, the fact he hadn’t left Scully since the kid had been born, seemed like an admission in of itself, but it wasn’t definitive. Doggett wondered, if he looked down into Williams’ face, how much of Mulder would be visible, if at all. It was early days, but maybe there would be something there. William’s features were all pretty unremarkable, undefined as all newborn baby’s features were, but full of promise. Fair hair, blue eyes, all Scully.
“Little man got Scully’s eyes.” Doggett observed. Bright and penetrating, not necessarily as intelligent as his mother’s, but Doggett was sure they’d get there some day.
Mulder nodded, smiling. He’d obviously noticed too, anyone who knew Scully could see it, clear as day.
Doggett took a leap of faith, noticing something about William’s appearance that didn’t remind him of Scully at all. “Got your nose though, Mulder.” He didn’t look up, not sure if he’d said the wrong, or the right thing.
Doggett only looked up from William’s sleeping face when Mulder finally responded.
“Yeah, poor kid.” Mulder looked happy, if a little tense, shoulders squared, where his eyes were shining. Pleased, but overwhelmed by the implications of Doggett’s comment.
William woke, and noticing the stranger holding him, began to cry, louder than before. Heartbreaking cries Mulder couldn’t ignore, and that he knew Scully wouldn’t be able to either, if she did wake.
“Hey, hey,” Mulder soothed, rushing over to take his son from Doggett’s arms, “it’s okay.” He told William, tucking the baby into his shoulder. Mulder’s presence seemed to calm William down immediately.
“I should get back to work. I only came to drop this off.” Doggett held up the large envelope he’d renigated to the side board when he’d been asked to hold William. “Scully asked me to pick it up from the DMV, since it was on the way here.”
“Yeah, she doesn’t trust the postal service.” Mulder chuckled. “And she calls me paranoid.”
Scully, Doggett thought, had the right not to trust anything anymore, after the ordeal she’d been through. He was sure Mulder understood that better than anyone, despite the jokes.
“Well,” Doggett held out the envelope, “Here you go. William is officially a registered US citizen.”
Mulder took the birth certificate from Doggett’s outstretched hand, and bent his neck to whisper sarcastically to a dozing William, “lucky you.”
Doggett hadn’t opened the envelope, despite how much he’d wanted to check out that certificate. He’d wondered the whole way here whose names were on it… but he respected Mulder and Scully privacy too much to take a look.
“Thanks for this,” Mulder held up the envelope, smiling, before placing it back on the sideboard for Scully to look over later.
“No problem. I uh…” Doggett patted his pockets, “I got him a little something else.” He then drew out a bx that had only just fit in the outside pocket of his coat. Realising Mulder wouldn’t be able to open the box without putting William down, Doggett pulled the lid off himself. “I’m not a fan myself, but I know you are.”
Mulder actually laughed, genuinely. Not in the harsh, short, damning way he’d done in front of Doggett before they’d found this mutual respect. Inside the box was a tiny New York Knicks onesie. “Thank you.” He held out his hand for Doggett to take.
After shaking Mulder’s outstretched hand, Doggett nodded and began to back away, signalling his departure. Turning to head for the door, he said, “I’ll be seeing you, Mulder.”
Mulder sighed, his face falling as soon as Doggett shut the door behind himself. Raising his hand to support William’s head where it lolled a little at his shoulder, he ran a thumb over the barely visible, downy, auburn hair there. “I’m not so sure.”